Mid-Pandemic Take-Aways

Mid-Pandemic Take-Aways

Gosh, I hate to bring up the pandemic, but it’s what’s on my mind. Or rather, the emotional experience of the pandemic. Heading into month five, I’m still very much finding it difficult to find peace in my mind and heart. Are you? I find validation (as well as heartache) in my assumption that we are all still struggling with the impacts of the pandemic to varying degrees and with varying degrees of privilege, but it seems we’ve reached a place where we somewhat recognize that we’re in limbo, and are bound to be here a while. We also know we don’t love Zoom.

It seems we’re trying to grin and bear it. We know we can’t talk and think about the pandemic all the time. We collectively more quietly acknowledge its presence, while still feeling its full weight. We know the show must go on, and that we must continue to adapt and tune into our resilience. And yet, we still haven’t had time to wrap our minds around the new reality and don’t know what’s to come. We are still scared, still isolated. We have experienced massive, abrupt change on personal, communal, national, and global levels and continue to grieve the loss of a former world. There is hope and joy to still be found, but… it’s a lot. 

I don’t say these things to be a big bummer. My last In Between Sundays Reflection in March was called Creating Your Joy List, so this is quite a contrast. I represent both. I am naming this difficult reality partly as a cathartic moment for myself, and also as an act of recognizing the pain I notice us all still carrying around. 

I sometimes wonder how I’ll be transformed by this experience. How my family and friends will be. How our congregation will be. How our country will be (fingers crossed for November). And our world will be. But I know we’re in the thick of it, and so for now, I am fine with making note of the smaller lessons I’ve learned. 

What I’ve learned so far:

  • When times are delicate, small gestures really matter. A text message of encouragement, a check-in email or note in the mail, a phone call from a loved one – these heartfelt efforts hit my heart in a particularly tender way these days. I don’t take them for granted. I experience the love in the gestures, and look for ways to send it back into the world (as I have the bandwidth). 
  • We miss each other because we need each other. The physical distance between us is so hard because we are absolutely social creatures within an interdependent web. We are not islands. I find myself having (physically distanced) conversations with neighbors that I never used to talk to. I find myself picking up the phone to call people more – in my personal life and for work. We seem more eager to connect, to share a one-on-one conversation, a moment of human connection. And I find that in connecting with others, I am able to better connect with my sense of self; I find part of myself in others.
  • Self-care is not just an overused pop culture term. I’ve had to find ways to feel grounded and connected to myself; it hasn’t felt like a choice. I’ve started to journal regularly again for the first time since high school. I’ve found myself stepping outside to watch all of the sunsets that seem like they’re worth catching. I take long walks so I can get out of the house. I go to bed earlier. And yes, I’m also eating a lot of chips and dip.

What have you learned so far? (AND VERY MUCH looking forward to meeting you all in person <3)

Holding you in my heart,
Sara

12 Comments

  1. Chris-Ellyn Johanson

    I have never commented on a between Sunday piece but your thoughts On where we are were so right on for me that I had to thank you

    • Sara Davidson (Author)

      I so appreciate that, Chris-Ellyn. I find it’s hard to gauge our own experience of this without being able to process it with others as easily. Thank you, and hugs.

    • Phyllis

      This is a way for us to feel in touch even if we can’t see each other. Many thanks for sharing.

  2. Karen (yes, really!)

    An introvert and artist with a home studio, I am finding this period of social distancing personally fairly easy to bear…but my spouse hasn’t lost his job and our kids are grown. I know those who must keep kids at home during this challenging time don’t have it easy, especially if they also have to handle jobs. I cannot even imagine how awful this is for people who have lost their jobs, especially since the current administration is making any kind of economic relief impossible. Add to that the disjointed and expensive, opaque hodgepodge of our so-called medical system. We have no safety net, no way to help people who get sick and rack up incredibly huge medical bills, wether or not they survive. Add to that the fact that no one is really safe from the novel coronavirus because we don’t have a vaccine yet. I do my best to stay healthy and sane, while I worry about all this. I worry about my daughter, who works in a liquor store in Lansing, MI, and who has to deal with staff and customers who refuse to wear masks. I worry about my son who lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden, where the death toll from the novel coronavirus exceeds every other country in Europe, per capita. I try not to worry about all this, but it ain’t easy, even though my spouse and I can stay relatively healthy and safe. I cling to the hope that we have access to a good set of vaccines by early next year. And I cling to the hope that we can vote in an administration that actually respects science, and reacts intelligently to all the threats we currently face.

    • Sara Davidson (Author)

      Karen, thank you so much for your thoughtful response. I love to hear that you are still able to connect with yourself during this time; I find it inspiring. And I hold in my heart all of the issues you raise; they are so real and valid. Our privilege factors in in such a real way in this time (and always)! I’m holding you in my heart.

  3. Nancy Kochuk

    Sara, I too am feeling all that you describe. Life these days has so many ups and down, whether that’s from the pandemic or all the other issues that we are facing.

    I absolutely agree that small gestures do matter and that self care has never been more important. I’ve also learned that limiting my news consumption helps me stay a little more balanced. I want to be informed but not overwhelmed.

    Thank you for sharing your reaction this far in.
    May you and all of us stay well, feel safe, and touch peace.

    Nancy Kochuk

    • Sara Davidson (Author)

      Thank you, Nancy <3 I appreciate the validation - it's always nice! Wishing you and your loved ones good health and happiness. Touching peace sounds so great - thank you.

  4. Linda Linton

    Sara – Thanks for sharing your feelings about the deep challenges of this time, a time that seems to me at moments that it will never end. It helps me to be reminded of the importance of small gestures. That understanding can get lost in the shuffle of all the “larger” aspects of life that have changed. I often resolve to call people I care about, but worry that I’ll so easily fall into venting that I’ll lose my instinct to connect in a positive way.
    I appreciate your thoughts, and I wish you well.

    • Sara Davidson (Author)

      Thank you, Linda. It certainly does feel like Groundhog Day, the movie… most… every? day. Venting seems to have its place (before, and most certainly now), as does making space for others. Thanks for your comment. Well wishes to you and your loved ones.

  5. Celonia Walden

    Hi Sara! Thanks for your thoughtful words, especially during these stressful times. I’m so glad I reconnected with UUCC back in April during the early part of the pandemic in our area. As a 63 year old nurse and frontline worker at a nursing home in Baltimore, it’s the extra mile that I find UUCC, Rev Paige Getty and staff such as you, Sara, that makes my days and nights feel a little easier. Thanks again so much! Peace and Blessings!

    • Sara Davidson (Author)

      Celonia 🙂 Thank you. I love our little Sunday morning Zoom chats. We are so happy to have you with us, and holding you in my heart as you bravely navigate your nursing job and all of life’s joys and struggles!

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