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Life During COVID
February 10, 2021, 10:11 AM

Dear Friends,

As I write this article, I am listening to TCU Minister’s Week presentations. Like so many other events, this one is virtual. One of the topics presented deals with trauma and grief during the pandemic and possible ways to work through it. While this is geared toward clergy self-care, I believe a great deal of this applies to you as well. Many of our families have lost loved ones during the pandemic. Due to safety for self and others, we have not been able to gather for support and grief-sharing as we used to do. That means we either meet with family over Zoom or on the phone without physical contact. Some of you have had to go to the hospital during this time for surgeries or illnesses, where again there is isolation, only now in a more frightening setting. Grief and trauma also happen with just the loss of being physically present which each other. 

Some of the suggestions for addressing grief included: sitting down and writing or naming the people, events, or things we are grieving. For each one, consider the impact of this loss, then lift it to God in prayer. By naming it and getting it out in the open, we may be able to process through it better. Sometimes we might be surprised at the variety and amount of grief we carry in our lives. Another suggestion was to get a spiritual companion or director who can help us unpack our grief or trauma, or perhaps a counselor. Exercise and good sleep are also components to help us physically deal with grief and trauma. Grief and or trauma affect us mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Addressing each part of ourselves, including care for our bodies, allows healing to happen holistically.

I have hope that we are slowly getting a handle on the COVID virus and developing more quickly a way to defend against its’ mutations. And much like the aftermath of 911, the pandemic will permanently change several aspects of our living, even after we can congregate. In the meantime, we are dealing with the loss of loved ones and the interruptions of normal traffic patterns we enjoyed before. We miss “normal” life!

But we do not lose hope! The Apostle Paul challenges believers that we have hope in that which thus far is unseen, “we wait for it patiently” (my interpretation of Romans 8:24-25). While we wait for the coming new day, maybe we can work on addressing our hurts, wounds, grief, and trauma so when the time gets here being fully together, we can be at our healthiest. Henri Nouwen has a long-ago published book entitled Wounded Healer. In which, he describes the wounded healer as someone who seek to lead or guide others through trauma and suffering because he/she/they has already walked that journey. The wounded healer is not more saintly or untouched by hurt and pain, instead they are those who have gone through the deep and painful life experiences and emerged stronger because of the scars they carry. I believe many of us fit that description.

As I miss being able to be present with those going to the hospital, nursing homes, and home visits, I look forward to the time when that is possible again! I grieve not seeing our church facilities being constantly used by ourselves and the community. I have faith that that time will happen sometime this year with celebration and joyful reunion! We will rise stronger from this! Not taking for granted our togetherness, but more determined to help others find the gift through Christ of being joined in the community!

In Christ’s service together wherever He leads,

David