We are fine here. But we are not exactly fine.
I’m not even physically involved in moving my Mom from assisted living to skilled nursing care, and still I am exhausted. I am emotionally worn out by trying to calm her down, at the same time as the world’s dread presses in on me. It’s like 2016 all over again, except more fear-filled and more compressed.
When I tell Mom that a worldwide virus pandemic has caused the governors of every state in which her children live to issue stay-at-home orders, and that’s why we can’t be there to help her make this move, she doesn’t believe me. She thinks we are staying away on purpose, as some kind of punishment. Her suspicion of our motives is hard to take.
In tonight’s virtual church meeting, our devotional included the disciples in the boat during the storm (Mark 4:35-41). The boat was unstable; the waves were exponential; the disciples were terrified.
In this household, we are privileged to have most everything we need. Except for the ability to go hold the hand of our frightened, angry, confused elderly relatives and friends. I know that lots of people are in this boat of fear and trembling with us.
Our devotional then had these words:
Do not fear, for I am with you,
do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
§ Isaiah 41:10
Damn it, I WILL fear. I am fearful. Yes, Jesus, I have little faith. I am the disciple trembling in the boat that is filling with water. It is those next words I need to hear, over and over. “For I am with you.”
When the 2016 election was done, some people said, “Don’t worry. It will be okay.” No. It has not been okay, and it is not okay. Don’t tell me, right now, that it will be okay, or that we will make it through this, or that we are strong. That may be true later on. But right now, I just need to hear, “I am with you. It’s okay for you to feel this fear and anger. It’s okay for you to grieve what is not to be. This is indeed a terrible and sad time.”
I will cry and cry and cry, just like I did in November 2016. I will cry for that leader who seems to have no capacity to cry, who seems to have no understanding of the suffering of others. I will cry for those of our leaders who are too busy doing a good job leading in a horrible situation to be able to allow themselves to cry. I will cry for my mother, who has no person who loves her to be with her as she moves to the necessary but difficult next stage of her life. I will cry for those who lost their jobs and don’t know how to manage tomorrow. I will cry for those who are endangering themselves to keep the rest of us alive. I will cry for the homeless in a stay-at-home-order world. I will cry for those who were lonely before all this began. I will cry for my children, and all children. I will cry for you.
I didn’t know it, in November 2016, but these are the things I was crying about, when I sobbed every day for three days straight.
Tomorrow I will stop crying and will get up and work and cook and eat and laugh and sing while I wash my hands and enjoy the company of the three who live here now. We will be fine. But tonight I will cry my heart out. For I am with you.
|Love is a bit blurry at the moment, but |
love is everywhere