Tucked away in the midst of the Old Testament book, Jeremiah, is a small verse that says “…the summer has ended, and we are not saved.”
The writer could not have predicted a plague of the coronavirus variety, aka COVID-19, but their words come from a time of societal lament and seem appropriate to our own current experience. Labour Day weekend typically signals the beginning of the school year and the end of summer fun. Except this year! This year our COVID numbers are on the rise and our medical system prepares for those numbers to keep rising. The whole world has been impacted. And each of us has been impacted as well. Many people are walking around wearing the heavy cloak of COVID fatigue and we’re seeing it show up in so many ways: anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, impatience, distrust, lethargy, sadness. Even screaming. In the past few weeks I have had encounters with individuals whose first response to the situation was to start screaming obscenities at me. Both instances stunned me. Both reminded me that we are all walking with so much going on beneath the surface and many of us are only a moment from a major meltdown. It is difficult to live day to day in the way this pandemic requires us to live.
It is a good time to ask ourselves what it is that our souls need. What can help us turn the lament, the mourning into dancing, into moments of joy (Psalm 30)?
What does your soul need right now? And what creativity can you bring to make that happen?
A friend really needed a hug from his grandmother, so he had her wrap herself in garbage bags and don a mask while he did the same. Then they hugged.
A 92-year-old mother of six children who was used to having one meal a week with each of her kids’ families hated the isolation enough to acknowledge that she was of that age where she would rather spend time with her family than worry about dying. The dinners resumed.
My partner and I are hosting a Friday night happy hour for friends who are facing their own stresses and frustrations. I hope to regale them into laughter with tales from my COVID camping adventure in a friend’s backyard during a post-midnight windstorm. Laughter is often the best medicine. And safe social distancing in a backyard will make for a perfect Friday night. Bring your own drink! And appie!
Some anxieties and depressions need more than laughter, so consider seeing your doctor if you find yourself overwhelmed by the mental and emotional challenges COVID brings.
And stay tuned. Perhaps next month I’ll share that camping adventure with you! Let’s really work to live into Dr Bonnie Henry’s advice to “be calm, be kind and be safe.” That screamer who is cursing you probably needs a little calmness and kindness.
Rev LeAnn Blackert is in ministry with Wild Church in Kamloops (wildchurchbc.org), where she works with Michele Walker and Lesly Comrie. LeAnn is spending her “stay home” time with her partner and two cats. She enjoys walking local trails in, paddling a kayak around local lakes, and connecting with her Wild Church community, whether online or live on the land.
She yearns to build a network committed to creating abundant life for all of creation, both human and more than human.