As the rain hides the stars,
as the autumn mist hides the hills,
as the clouds veil the blue of the sky,
so the dark happenings of my lot
hide the shining of Thy face
Yet, if I may hold Thy hand in the darkness, it is enough.
For I know that, though I may stumble in my going,
Thou dost not fall.
(Gaelic Prayer as quoted by James Miller in Winter Grace, Summer Grief, Minneapolis. Copyright 1995, Augsburg Fortress.)
It is time, I believe, to come to grips with another aspect of this pandemic reality – grief. For those who have lost a loved one, the grief is easy to identify and very real. As unwanted and unwelcome as it is, we know about this grief.
What we may not be used to is looking at the other faces of grief which are present and active at this time in the world:
- loss of work,
- an uncertain future,
- loss of freedom of movement
- illness for many out there,
- isolation and loneliness,
- insecurity, and
- add your own losses ………
Any significant loss is a setback, it upsets your daily routine. Add to that the loss of the ability to resume your daily routine and the setback increases. So the stages of grief begin to come into play: denial, anger, bargaining (though there isn’t much space for bargaining in a pandemic emergency), depression, acceptance. From what I am hearing, most of us are grappling with acceptance. There isn’t a lot to deny, and anger seems unhelpful. Depression is a looming reality, especially with social distancing, loss of daily routines, economic uncertainty and anxiety over personal well-being as well as the well-being of loved ones.
At this point I am going to recommend two articles: one from The Harvard Business Review (That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief by Scott Berinato), and on from Psychiatric Times (Care of the Soul in the Time of Covid-19) by Ronald W. Pies, MD). The second part of the article by Pies I find especially helpful as he talks about the healing that gratitude can bring about, even in times such as these.
May love and grace heal and transform your losses, so that each day brings something new, something positive, a reason to hope, some new meaning, and a multitude of things for which to give thanks and rejoice. Live in this world with a tender and daring love, let every day be lived with love. So be it.