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,