I, too, am going to chat for a while with you, following in the footsteps of the compassionate and thoughtful Food for Thought from April 2020 written by Judy Hanson. Please don’t let the social distancing from others due to the virus also distance you from yourself and “what’s going on within you right now.” I want to share a quote from that same source, What’s Your Grief?, “The COVID-19 crisis is impacting each and every one of us differently. It may be impacting your grief of losses that occurred before this crisis. It may be bringing up a whole new set of losses, death and nondeath. It may be some combination.” The authors went on to say, “Let’s face the pain. Let’s hold each other up. Let’s grow stronger together.” Together.
That helps me. Together, “holding each other up” helps me – may that help you – be stronger. To live with hope. How does that work? Turning from this virus-isolated tunnel-focus on personal concerns to seeing others in need, in helping others safely, strengthens your sense of self and honors your value. I think this helps bring light into this dark time for all of us. Please know I am not saying forget your grief and what is going on inside you because we know the pain of losing someone you love is real. The loss and fear in this dark time is just as real. Honor yourself in this.
But I am saying let’s also look outside the darkness. As What’s Your Grief? stated, “If you show compassion towards your struggles, you may be more likely to show compassion towards others.” So showing self-compassion comes first. What will help you “pause, breathe, and begin again?” Will it be to journal or write a letter to a friend? Will it be time in prayer or work out in the garden? Rest? Read? Give yourself the attention you need AND look outside the darkness. Try helping others now as you are able, express the connection of caring, the hope of going forward together, leaning on each other’s strengths. And please do accept the help offered you. Some of us pray for neighbors, another makes face masks for friends. Another shops for the older ones. Can you see something you can do? I think what author and lecturer Brene’ Brown said in the Unlocking Us Podcast Episode #1 is so true: “This pandemic experience is a massive experiment in collective vulnerability. We can be our worst selves when we’re afraid, or our very best, bravest selves. In the context of fear and vulnerability, there is often very little in between because when we are uncertain and afraid our default is self-protection. We don’t have to be scary when we are scared. Let’s choose awkward, brave, and kind. And let’s choose each other.” Yes, let’s face our own pain, choose each other and grow stronger together.
Take good care of yourself. And others. Please think on these words by Edwin Louis Cole, “Respect those whom God has connected to you to help you. God cares for people through people.” We at Conley Outreach care about you. See this HOPE.