Sometimes, I can hardly even begin to express my feelings – there are so many. And they are so different, like beads on an abacus they slide, changing colours, often from minute to minute. Sometimes they get stuck. There is a blockage. As if there is a heavy piece right in the middle.
Or maybe it’s more like an abstract painting with complex colours bleeding one into the other, hazy and blurred.
Agony, loss, and fear
Is it the agony of the unknown, choking and grabbing? And the heart-wrenching decisions we have to make. The questions and wondering. The tears that flow.
What about the deep sadness that comes from a layoff? And with it losing relationships built and cultivated. That feeling of usefulness and purpose. Seemingly, gone. Though it may be temporary, the reality is – there is great uncertainty. On the other side of this – what will the new normal look like?
And fear of disease nips like a newborn puppy at our heels. With social distancing and physical distancing comes separation from family members.
We wouldn’t want to infect one another, those who are more vulnerable in our families. We don’t have to live far away to experience the pang, the ache of missing those so very dear to us. Our children and grandchildren.
Missing and misunderstanding
Oh, how I long for the comradery and laughter of my friends. The face to face – having tea together, going out for dinner or to a movie, getting that warm and welcoming hug. The meals, the celebrations, the sharing of our mutual joys and sorrows. I miss my girlfriends!
I long for corporate worship. All of us together as one – lifting our voices in song. Listening and learning. Weeping and praying. Rejoicing and dancing. This meeting together – it is so deeply ingrained in me and I feel the loss of it profoundly. This bond of faith holding us, grounding us, reminding us who we are and whose we are.
And at home there are misunderstandings and tensions from being together, under one roof. Day and night, night and day. No going from home to work or school, running errands, and then meeting back up, sharing the day, telling our stories. So, the muddle of emotions can confuse and irritate, bring happiness and intense annoyance. As we create our own narratives, it brings out both the best and the worst in us.
All the feelings
Here it is, all of it: grief, loss, fear, anger, frustration, uncertainty, lack of connection, anxiety, loneliness, depression, despair, irritation, sorrow, and sadness.
It’s real. And it matters. All the feelings. We need not give one another side-eye. What we are going through is unprecedented. How many times have you heard that word in the last 3 weeks???
These crazy, unprecedented times.
Pandemics happen. But nothing like this in our lifetime. The bogey-man got out of the closet and it’s hunting us down.
It’s no respecter of persons. It is looking for a host and you’ll do just fine, thank you very much. What if that person in front of you or behind you is an asymptomatic carrier? What if they’ve been sick with Covid-19, have recovered somewhat but are still shedding the virus? And, God forbid, what if they have it and they are out and about, spreading it, so it travels from one person to the next to the one after that?
The doctors on the news now describe grocery shopping as a “high risk” activity? The normal and mundane, now fraught.
How to manage?
How do we live with all of this? How do we process, sort, organize all this information, how do we remain emotionally, spiritually, mentally intact? Maybe these ideas might help, move us on and through?
So, we name the feelings,
do not deny them.
We accept them, do not judge them.
We stockpile compassion, not toilet paper.
Practice radical self-care.
We give grace, offer kindness.
Stay safe and stay home;
as much as we can.
Reaching out, sorting through
We ask for help.
Call a pastor, a therapist,
a friend, maybe all three.
Pick up the phone, text,
have a video call.
even though –
We give ourselves time.
Time to sort through all the information –
it’s coming at us with lightning speed.
We breathe in His grace, mercy and peace, breathe out the stress, anxiety and worry.
And we remember this:
God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1.
So, moment by moment, day by day we carry on, knowing He carries us.