Holding in Tension


March 29, 2023
A Note from Molly Collier

Dear Friends,

Ohio skiing

I recently went skiing with some friends, and we were reminded of some very valuable lessons before we even hit the slopes.

Mind you, this is Ohio skiing. I’m not sure if I can call them slopes, but they were high enough for me, a novice skier who hadn’t skied in over 10 years.

It’s okay to ask for help

The first lesson we were reminded of was that it’s okay to ask for help when you don’t know how something works. We were stubborn and tried to figure out the ski boots.

It took us ten minutes and some pain before we finally asked the person working to help us. He was able to get them fastened quickly and easily. It would have saved us some time and some struggle.

Don’t bail out too soon

The second lesson we were reminded of was don’t bail out too soon. We did a few practice runs on the bunny slope, and to get to the top, you get on a conveyor belt that takes you up the hill.

When we got to the place where you unload, instead of going forward like one is supposed to, my friend got scared and went off to the side. It was very comical to watch, and thankfully she did not hurt herself.

After a few practice runs we decided to get on the ski lift and head to some bigger hills. I have been on a ski lift before, but again it has been 10 years.

When I was younger I was never afraid of heights. As I have gotten older, however, that has changed. Depending on the situation I sometimes do not like to be up really high.

Molly ski lift

Sitting on a ski lift with my feet dangling as we go higher and higher with nothing holding us in except our hands on the rail is a situation where I am, in fact, afraid of heights.

I shared this with my friend as I was forced to face this fear. She told me to look back and take in the view. It was a beautiful view that I would not have been able to see from a different vantage point.

She then commented, “There’s an extreme tension of being scared and facing your fear but also the really exciting and beautiful view.”

Wow, if that’s not a metaphor for life I don’t know what is.

How often are we holding in tension the beautiful things in life right along with the scary, hard, messiness of it all?!

I am currently feeling much of that. In the past few weeks I have experienced many breakthroughs in healing and clarity around myself and my calling. I have felt more at home in my body and who I am as a person, a spiritual being, called by God to do a special kind of ministry. Therapy works wonders, y’all.

At the same time, there are messages from society and some religious folks who want to deny my being and my existence, along with other folks who live and love like me. In 2023 alone, as in the past 3 months, there have been over 400 proposed bills in the majority of the states that are anti-trans and anti-intersex and seek to take away the autonomy of a person’s body and lived experience, many of which are targeting children.

Along with these are several other bills seeking to deny the history and lived experience of Black, brown, indigenous, and people of color.

Life is beautiful, and life is hard and messy and sometimes exhausting.

While holding all these things in tension, I have also been dealing with aging parents and my mom specifically, who has Alzheimer’s. She was diagnosed eleven years ago with early onset.

Molly with her mom and brother

Recently her mind seems to be declining more rapidly. I went home to Illinois in December to visit with her. She was very confused and did not look well. I went home again in mid March. I was not sure in what state my mom’s mind or general mood would be, but I knew I needed to see her.

I was so grateful that when we walked into her room she was smiling and laughing with her roommate. My brother and I were able to spend time with her, laughing and sharing family photos from the past. She was still a little confused, but there was so much joy and laughter in that visit.

In the midst of all the pain and joy that life brings, I am grateful for the love and support from friends and family, and I am truly grateful for the love, support, and affirmation I receive from my HUMC family.

May you find love, beauty, and joy in the tension of life. And know that God is big enough to help you hold all of that when you feel like it’s just too much.


Molly Collier (they/she)
MTSO Seminary Intern

Molly Collier seminary intern MTSO