Pandemic Thoughts, Part #1

I’ve put off writing this for awhile because I didn’t know what to say. I was struggling with the same questions most of us are struggling with:

How serious is the coronavirus? What am I going to do for childcare now that my kids are out of school? How will I educate them? How will I entertain them? How will I still work? CAN I still work? How do I protect myself and my family? How do I protect others? Will our finances survive this?

Where in the world can I find a single stinkin’ roll of toilet paper?

More than that, I was struggling with my emotions. I’m scared for my family and my friends. I’m angry at the panic and selfish behavior that’s creating unnecessary stress and problems in an already stressful situation. I’m frustrated at the finger-pointing and name-calling among leadership. I’m concerned for the healthcare workers who are overwhelmed and undersupplied.

And I’m sad. I’m sad for thousands of deaths this monster has caused. I’m sad for isolation and depression so many are feeling as they are forced into their homes, away from family and friends. I’m sad for the kids who are missing their friends, their schools, their teachers, their extracurriculars, weeks and possibly months of childhood they can never get back. I’m sad for parents who are trying to balance working from home as well as now being full-time teachers; who are working OUTSIDE the home and still needing to be full-time teachers; or–even worse–NEEDING to work but being unable to because their jobs were terminated or suspended during this quarantine. I’m sad for the elderly and immuno-compromised who are scared to even hug loved ones for fear of infection. I’m sad for small business owners whose stores, restaurants, and life-savings may never recover.

And I’m sad for those who are made to feel ashamed because they are feeling sad about things others see as insignificant.

Yes, this disease is a monster on a global scale. There is real hurt, real pain, real hardship all over the world, some bigger, worse, or more serious than others. But the fact remains that we are ALL affected by this pandemic. We absolutely need to put our pain in perspective of the wider picture, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to feel how we feel about our own situations.

Losing sports isn’t that big of a deal to many people but for those who play, for those who follow them closely, who are passionate about their teams, who bond with friends and relatives over games and rivalries–to those people, it IS a big deal. Minute in comparison to global suffering? Of course. But sports fans are still allowed to feel sad about their loss.

Thousands of parents chose to homeschool their children. It’s one of things that makes America great–choice. But thousands more rely on school systems for, not only education, but meals and childcare–and now they have none of those things. Not a big deal when placed against a worldwide death toll in the tens of thousands? Of course not. But parents are still allowed to feel overwhelmed, sad, and stressed about it.

Stores, restaurants, and movie theaters are closing. A small price to pay to keep the virus from spreading? Absolutely. But the people who own these businesses and are now facing financial hardships–they’re allowed to feel sad about it. The people who frequent these places for stress relief, socialization, and mental health breaks–they’re allowed to feel sad about it too.

I guess the bottom line is that it’s okay to not be okay with all of this. None of this is normal. None of this is easy. Even the “trivial” things. It doesn’t mean you don’t have perspective. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about things on a global scale. And, for me at least, it doesn’t even mean that I don’t know ultimately Who is still on throne, Who is still in control. Because I do.

But He’s big enough to handle my emotions. He’s big enough to handle my questions. He’s big enough to handle my grief, my anger, my frustration, and my concern. He is the God over it all.

So mourn if you need to mourn, even if it’s over things others consider trivial. Grieve over sports, graduations, business meetings, church gatherings. Vent your disappointment to friends. Cry out to God your annoyances and irritations.

Those feelings are not bad; they do not make you weak, they do not make you selfish. They make you human, the very thing God created you to be.

The Book of Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for everything, as season for every activity under heaven. Weeping, laughing, loving, mourning–all are a part of the human experience.

So mourn in this season of mourning. Grieve in this season of grief. We will all get through this. In our own ways, in our own times. Through the goodness and faithfulness of God, who is still overwhelming in His goodness and His love, who created our feelings and understands their depth. You can be sad and still have hope; you can be angry and still have faith.

Because God is still good, even when nothing else is is.

He stands firm, even when everything else falls apart.

He made you. He loves you. And He will not fail, even when we do.

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