These are days for which most of us have no words.
I keep coming back to “weird.”
And, weird again.
We keep trying to find the words anyway, even if they’re repetitive, because attempting to hold all the thoughts, questions, and emotions inside, while also weathering the changes to our outsides, is too much. Our merely human forms aren’t meant for that kind of silent pressure pushing against us from all angles.
So, we talk about it. Write about it. Pray about it. And, talk some more.
Some days, it feels like our new normal has become a living nightmare. For many victims of the virus, healthcare professionals on the front lines, and those in abusive or destitute circumstances, it is.
For the rest of us, we’re fighting the depression or sadness of isolation, feeling anxiety over uncertain futures, or grieving our own versions of loss.
I don’t know about you, but these are the kinds of days where I need to hear and hold onto truth.
I need to speak it out loud, write it down, and listen to others say it.
Truth invites me into realities than can feel buried beyond recall under the burdens of the hour.
Here are three realities that feel like life-lines right now:
Now isn’t permanent.
We may never know “normal” again exactly the way we knew it before…but what we’re experiencing now isn’t all that’s left.
We will visit family and friends again.
We will take our kids to playdates again.
We will hug all our people again.
We will have parties and in-person gatherings and church events and community-wide celebrations again.
Y’all, we may even be able to buy toilet paper again.
This quarantine life is an unprecedented side path on our journey – but it is not home, and it is not the ending point.
I have to remind myself of this. Now is not forever, and seasons always change, and we are a people who always have belonged to the future anyway.
This is a comfort.
I feel I would be remiss in not saying that for some people, this pandemic has been their ending point. My heart cracks a little as I type this. There have been fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters who have slipped across the line from this world to the next over the past weeks and months. On the pages of their lives, this was the final paragraph.
It’s to their memories that we can dedicate each next day, each new hour, of isolation or confinement or essential service—so we can keep as few periods as possible off the pages of the rest of this season.
No tears fall uncaught.
My friend Ronne recently reminded me that our Father is catching Every. Single. One.
He knows the hair count on our heads. He can number our tears. Every salty, stinging drop.
Every single person alive has lost or will lose something to this pandemic. It could be as big as a wedding, or as small as sleepless nights, as crushing as a job loss, or as devastating as a loved one.
The point is not comparison. The point is recognizing our own personal losses and letting Jesus enter into the pain with us, being conscious of his care for us, and that he feels the hurt with us.
He is with us, in every heartache and grief.
And he is catching, and I believe treasuring, our tears.
There is no waste in the Kingdom. Our tears always water something good that will grow. This doesn’t wipe out the pain, or fix everything, or minimize the loss. But that our pain is not wasted—this is truth to cling to.
Our worst days do not define us.
Nor, for the record, do our best days.
We don’t bear our own blame for the first, nor collect credit for the second.
Who we are is defined by our belonging to Jesus, our place as God’s Beloved, our union with the Holy Spirit.
We are not our good choices.
We are not our wrong decisions.
We are not our grief, our sin, our loss, or our failure.
Our identity is caught up in the clasp of our Savior, not our circumstances.
I don’t know about you, but when the sadness and the stress and the isolation threaten to overwhelm me, this is a peace that can carry me a long, long way.
I’m finishing this post on Good Friday 2020, and the poignancy of it is lost on none of us.
This is the day we remember Jesus’ death—while the world fights a widespread death angel that our generation has never witnessed before.
This is the day we grieve Christ’s pain—while facing and enduring types of pain we’ve never experienced before.
This is the day we call to mind the hopelessness of our world without a Savior—while needing to cherish hope in a measure we’ve never known.
On this Good Friday, let’s allow this Friday during COVID-19 to do its good work in us.