"…the chasm between what we wanted and what is."
~ John E. Welshons
Hmmm…how well does this describe where you find yourself right now? This is actually a description of grief. Maybe you hadn't even thought of what you're experiencing in the midst of this pandemic as being grief. We usually think of grief as that intense emotion we feel when someone we love dies. But there are so many nuances and layers to grief and for each of us this looks different. I invite you to see if any of these different aspects of what we are going through right now may be a source of grief that you may or may not have recognized as so.
There is an interpersonal grieving. Some who want to be out cannot leave their house.Some who have to work, especially those in the medical community, would love to be at home. Some are deeply missing their loved ones who do not live in the same house, and some, although they deeply love those they live with, could sure use a break (a shout out to all those moms of younger kids out there!).
There is a social grieving. You find yourself doing the unimaginable – wearing a mask to the grocery store. A mask! Most others in the store are also wearing masks. You follow the arrows so you are all moving the same direction in the aisles. You see shelves empty of the things you either need or the things you want because they help bring you comfort. And it seems that others look at you with suspicion or you look at them the same way. "Does she have it?" "Does he have it?" You find yourself trying to read someone's face accurately by only looking at their eyes.
There is a national grieving. You feel helpless as you see those around the nation hurting, falling ill and dying. You see the wake of grief that each individual death represents as loved ones cannot even have a funeral. You grieve with those who have lost loved ones, who have lost jobs and who will lose so much more before this is over.
There is a global grieving. I have a dear friend, Maria, who lives in Italy and has been in lockdown for almost 6 weeks. I have friends in Spain, Argentina, India, Chile, Brazil and Guatemala. These countries either have been or will be impacted by this virus. The entire globe is hurting. We are each trying to tend to our own wounds and don't have the energy to tend to the wounds of those we love in other countries.
And there is an intrapersonal grieving– that which is happening inside of you as you process this. Times like this require you to dig deep and sometimes you see, up close and personal, your shadow side. At the same time, it can also bring into the light what you truly value, which may be a surprise to you. This time may also have revealed that there is a gap between how much you think you trust God and how much you truly do trust God.
If grief is indeed the chasm between what we want and what is, there is no doubt that each of us is grieving because none of us wanted this. But this is what we have.
I want to encourage you to acknowledge that you are grieving. Make space for it. Give voice to it. Feel it. Express it. If you don't, it will get stuck. And, I am pretty confident in saying that we all have more grief coming so it might be a good idea to start to practice processing it.
Take some time with these questions:
Which aspect or aspects of grieving resonated with you?
Had you recognized it as grief before now?
What is one thing you can do today to honor your grieving?
Know that in our little community at Kavanna House, we are holding each other through this as we know we are being held by Love through this – and as we acknowledge and tend to our grief and what it is forging in us, we will come out on the other side with deeper compassion, deeper love and deeper community.
With profound love,
Photo Credit: Pixabay