16
Mar
20

Pandemic

**Please note that I am taking all suggested precautions as regards Covid-19. I am taking the virus seriously. I can do that and still have strong feelings about it all, which is the purpose of this post.**

 

I am mad. And I am sad. And I am worried. Perhaps you are, too.

You probably have your own reasons. But here are mine. Perhaps they will resonate with you.

 

I am mad because there are things I have been working really hard on, at work and at home, that will not be coming to fruition. That feels like time and energy wasted, which really pisses me off.

I am sad because I have a calendar full of concerts and dinner reservations and other exciting events that are being postponed or canceled outright. With each thing being taken off my calendar, I feel more and more hopeless.

I am worried that things will never return to normal. That three weeks will turn into six, will turn into eight, will turn into twelve. I can do just about anything for two weeks—but beyond that?

 

I am mad because I sense that we are confusing social distancing with social isolation. I am a relational being and need to be in connection with others. Internet-only connection is a needed stand-in for large, unsafe gatherings, but not sufficient for me. As an extrovert, this is painful.

I am sad that the overwhelming sense of uncertainty is uprooting my sense of normalcy.

I am worried that businesses and restaurants and churches, even—any place that depends on the generosity of others—will be faced with closures or staff reductions. I am worried for people’s livelihood and the long-term effects of all that is happening. Things might be sustainable as is for a few weeks, but at some point, they will no longer be.

 

I am mad because my favorite part of my job is the people and the relationships I get to foster and form. I didn’t become a pastor to sit at my desk and not talk to anyone all day!

I am sad because our long-awaited, much-anticipated honeymoon to Italy is being jeopardized.

I am worried that we will forget our sense of connectedness and our deep need of one another.

 

I am mad that I can go to Target or Hy-Vee, and that I receive countless emails each day from businesses about how they are taking extra precautions to clean their stores (so please—keep coming in!) and yet I can’t worship in my faith community. I understand, yes, that the issue is large gatherings and I think that it is important to follow the guidelines given by the CDC, but it still makes me feel icky.

I am sad that churches—the very place where support and community and lament and hope are practiced so well—are struggling to discern how to continue providing these necessary things while still being safe and hygienic.

I am worried that we have forgotten that there is an element of risk in all human relationships. That there is an element of risk in all of life. That to be in relationships and community is to be vulnerable. That to be human is to be vulnerable.

 

I am mad because the myth that our world is a safe place has been debunked. Ignorance is bliss, and I like thinking that as I go about my life, my normal, regular life, I am safe. I like thinking that there are not dangers everywhere, that there are not risks everywhere. I like thinking that I can control my environment and so much more. And all of that has been stripped away.

I am sad that life—as I want to live it—has been cut off to me. My choices are being taken away (more and more each day, it seems), and that is demoralizing.

I am worried that somehow, even when it is safe to resume normal activities and re-engage with life fully, we won’t. We will continue cocooning and burrowing out of fear or out of habit. That instead of having a massive dinner party where food and drinks are shared abundantly at the end of all of this, we will continue to isolate. That this will become our new normal. That we will say “well, it worked while we were dealing with coronavirus—it could keep working!’ instead of saying “it was a needed change, but let’s get back to community. To connection. To life.”

 

 

I am mad. I am sad. I am worried. And it’s important to give voice to these feelings. It is important to have a safe space to grieve what is being lost and all that is changing. It is vital that we are able to share what we think and how we feel.

I am, with my body, doing all of the safe things. I am washing my hands more. I am trying not to touch my face. I am staying away from vulnerable populations and large group gatherings. But just because I am doing all the right things, doesn’t mean I am happy about it. And that’s okay.

Which means it’s okay for you, too. It’s okay for you to voice your frustration and your anger and your grief. It’s okay for you to share your worries and concerns. It’s more than okay—it’s necessary.

 

These are rapidly changing and very strange times. It is okay to name and claim that. There will be time for hope and joy and love and gratitude and silver linings in the days and weeks to come, I have no doubt. I will do my best to provide them here.

But for now…this sucks. And that is okay to name. So find someone who can handle hearing your feelings, and share them. Know that “I volunteer as tribute,”[i] if there isn’t another human you can turn to.

At the very least, share your feelings with God. God can handle your anger, your pain, your frustration, your worry, and your sadness.

Seriously. Share them. You’ll feel better.

 

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” –Jesus, in Matthew 11:28

 

 

[i] A Hunger Games reference!


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