I was asked by my church to speak on the topic of waiting for their Ash Wednesday service, a Christian holy day that precedes Easter. It is meant to be a time of meditation, of looking inward in sober self-examination before we start looking forward to the joy and celebration of Easter. Before the joy, though, comes waiting.
I feel stuck in the waiting place
It's funny that I spoke about waiting in a theoretical context just a couple of weeks before the coronavirus forced all of us into a long, metaphorical waiting room. Sometimes it feels like we are permanently stuck in that waiting place. Have you ever been trapped on a plane that is having difficulties, and the pilot keeps coming on and saying they will take off shortly? And an hour or two later, you feel like you are going to lose it if they don't let you off the plane or the plane still doesn't take off? The months of March and April feel a little bit like being stuck on a plane with no word from the pilot and no sense of when things will get better.
I miss so many things that I took for granted
The coronavirus feels like it came out of nowhere and ripped a hole in the social, physical and mental fabric of our collective lives
I am sad for those who suffer. I am sad for those who mourn. I am worried for those who labor on the front lines to keep us healthy and fed. I grieve with those whose businesses will close and for those who have lost their jobs and their ability to feed their families. My heart aches watching the cases of domestic violence rise and knowing so many young and vulnerable victims are trapped at home with the perpetrators. The coronavirus feels like it came out of nowhere and ripped a hole in the social, physical, and mental fabric of our collective lives.
Day by day I try to look for and lean into what is good
I would not wish for this pandemic, but I am leaning in and trying to embrace any good that may come of it. I am practicing mindfulness, and meditation, and prayer, and gratitude every day because I need it every day. The need is always there, of course, but in my normal life, it is not so apparent. It is good to know that I am not the god of my own life and I don't need to be.
Waiting feels like suffering
We are all in a season of waiting, so you know how hard this is. We are not just waiting for the virus to be eradicated or for a vaccine. There are so many other things in our lives we are still waiting on. Waiting for the pain to go away after a tough break-up, waiting to move back after losing your home in the floods, waiting to see if your cancer is gone for good, waiting to see if you can have a baby after a long struggle with infertility--waiting. And in those moments, sometimes, waiting feels like suffering.
Stay healthy and safe and practice radical compassion - to yourself and others. These are tough times.
The advice in this blog is not a substitute for professional counseling.