July 1, 2020
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Can you believe it is already July? It seems like just yesterday I was here visiting First Christian Church for my call weekend back in March! I think a big part of my difficulty in wrapping my brain around it already being July is that we have all been social distancing since mid-March. The world has been so different than what we are normally used to, and I know that I, for one, am still trying to adjust to life during COVID-19.
From speaking with many of you, I have seen that this is taking a toll on many of us. Many of us are grieving right now—and that is completely normal. We are grieving the loss of life from COVID-19, the inability to visit with loved ones in the hospital or nursing homes, and even the inability to BE visited when we are in the hospital. We are grieving the loss of time spent with family and friends, our community networks, and our church family. We are grieving that traditions we normally keep every spring and summer have been changed, special events have been cancelled, and our daily routines have changed. We are grieving the loss of jobs and financial stability for ourselves and our community. There is a lot to grieve right now.
Grief can show up in our lives in a number of ways, including:
- Feeling empty, numb, or guilty
- Wondering if there is something that could or should be done differently
- Physical reactions such as trembling, nausea, exhaustion, and weakness
- Being distracted and acting absentmindedly
- Struggling to return to usual activities (info from NYC.gov)
There is no right or wrong way to grieve! Everyone experiences grief differently, and every loss is unique.
We don’t know how long our lives, our community, and our church family will be affected by COVID-19, but there are things that we can do to take care of ourselves while we are grieving. Here is a list from NYC.gov that I have found helpful as I have searched for resources on how to cope right now:
- Accept your feelings. Recover at your own pace and in your own way. Be patient with yourself.
- Talk about your loss. You may find this comforting and feel less alone. Connect with friends and family through phone, text, and other digital platforms.
- Take stock of what is going well. Write down or share with others your strengths and bright moments from the day.
- Know what resources are available.
- Focus on the things within your control such as staying home as much as possible, abiding by physical distancing recommendations, frequently washing your hands with soap and water, eating nutritious foods, and maintaining a daily schedule.
- Limit your exposure to media coverage related to COVID-19. Turn off the TV, shut down the computer, and put down the papers.
- Take a break. Do something relaxing, energizing, or something that will lift your spirits.
- Be part of the community. Community can offer you a network of support. Stay connected through digital platforms.
- Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed.
As your pastor, I am always here if you need prayer, someone to talk with, or another form of support. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if I can support you through this.
I also want to let you know that on Sunday, August 2nd our usual worship service will be a service of lament. It will be a time for us to acknowledge in community the grief we are feeling, the loss we have suffered, and the uncertainty of the future. I invite you to join us for this special service as well as an interactive “talk-back” session directly afterwards where we can share our experiences of the last few months with each other. If you have suggestions for what might be most meaningful for you as a part of that morning, feel free to reach out to me as I am still in the beginning stages of planning.
Know that each one of you is on my mind and in my prayers. We will get through this together! See you on Sunday!
Rev. Bethany Meier