You don’t need me or anyone else to tell you that we are in the midst of an extraordinary time. A scary, terrifying, challenging, sad time. Not one of us is exempt from the feelings that life will never be the same again, even when this pandemic is over, whenever that is.
Some of us are working much harder than ever before, trying to do the work we used to do, but in a completely new way. That alone creates extra work. And on top of that, many have more to do. We are stressed, tired, anxious.
Some of us no longer have our jobs, either just for now or because the jobs will not be back. We don’t know how we will pay the bills or feed our families. We are stressed, tired, anxious.
Some of us are confined to our homes and are bored, filling the time doing puzzles or making butter sculptures. We feel guilty because we have the luxury of being bored. But still, we are stressed, tired, anxious.
Some of us are working from home, while also managing the completely new way in which our children are learning. The very words “quality time” make us shudder. What is that exactly? The kids are stressed, tired, anxious. And so are we.
Some of us find irony in the safe-at-home order, because we have no home. Or we are incarcerated and definitely not feeling safe. Or detained in a confinement facility. We are stressed, tired, anxious.
Some of us are facing illness or loss of a loved one. We cannot gather with those we love to grieve the loss and celebrate the life. We are stressed, tired, anxious.
Most of us miss the closeness of community. We miss the hugs and the celebration of being in the company of those we love. We are stressed, tired, anxious.
There are so many things that we cannot do to fix this. We feel powerless. And then a sibling sets up a Zoom family gathering and we laugh as if everything is normal. And someone brings a load of groceries and leaves it safely on our porch. And our church keeps upping their game with services and meetings that almost feel as if we are together again. And we hear of local healthcare providers who give up the security and comfort of home to go to New York because they are needed. And people share funny, bawdy, silly memes and cartoons and songs, because laughter is powerful.
More powerful even than laughter, is love. We see it over and over again. The love given freely from those close to us and from strangers. The love that shines as we witness daily that the shuttered buildings were never the churches. The love that shines when we see still another example of people being the church. The love that tells us that it is okay to be sad and happy, to grieve and celebrate, to embrace all of the feelings that we feel.
And we realize that life never should be the same, because the way things were wasn’t very good for so many. And there was already isolation and inequity and pain. And we know now that we have the power to do better, to be better. And so we pray, Lord help us to carry the lessons of this time into the future. Let us remember the power of community, the power of love, the power of understanding the stress and the fear that so many feel every day. And help us to do what we can, when we can. Amen