As we have been sheltering in place I have had numerous conversations with many of you and, oftentimes, I leave those conversations with mixed emotions and a familiar feeling.
During one of my online church services my Pastor put a word to that familiar feeling and that word is grief. Grief is defined as deep sorrow. The emotion I felt after many of those conversations was grief. No matter what anyone’s social, economic or political status, we have all experienced some sort of loss through this unique season in our lives.
Some have lost jobs, some have lost businesses, others have lost loved ones, some have lost the opportunity of experiencing many of life’s rites of passage whether it’s a graduation, a wedding, a championship game, a honeymoon or a funeral and we have all lost some semblance of control in our lives – suddenly we are being mandated to stay at home, cover our faces and keep our distance from one another. We can no longer just get up and go as we please. We have lost our freedom.
It is unnerving, precarious, and scary. The unknown can be terrifying and yet, amidst it all, life goes on. Yet, life as we know it is suddenly so very different. There are many things that remain the same and many more other things that are incredibly different. I’ve heard people say we have to “adjust” and “pivot” as we settle in to the “new norm.” At times this experience is overwhelming and yet change is necessary given the circumstances.
Still, through it all, I’ve witnessed the goodness and kindness of humanity. People going out of their way to help one another. It’s amazing really! The reality that ALL of us are experiencing grief at the same time and in different ways under the same circumstances is somehow oddly comforting and incredibly beautiful.
Empathy and compassion are prevalent as we take our daily walks to break up the day’s monotony. Strangers passing each other by every so gingerly and respectfully stepping aside to maintain a safe distance from one another. Unsure if we should make eye contact beneath the masks that “protect” us from one another. Cautiously our eyes meet as we smile at one another under the suffocating coverings that hide not only our faces yet also our apprehension, and slowly we lift our hands in the air to motion “hello!” How sweet it is to have human interaction. To see a stranger who I know is experiencing the same emotions of uncertainty lift their hands and offer a friendly wave. I see you. My heart aches for you and I’m so happy you’re alive, I think to myself. We’re alive and although life seems uncertain, I’m so grateful to be alive!
Grief, the great equalizer. It reminds me of the saying, “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” The knowledge that we’re all suffering seems to level the playing field as it were. It makes us kinder, more compassionate, and more gracious with one another. My hope and prayer as we continue this journey of social distancing are that we not soon forget the struggles we’ve endured and that we continue to treat each other with kindness and love as we shelter in grace. Stay healthy & safe my friends!