A New Normal

For the past few weeks, I have been in deep thought and prayer about the emotional and spiritual process we have all been going through during the COVID-19 crisis. It is a process of deep grief. What we have come to know, what we have come to expect, what we have come to take for granted shifts every day. Things we were certain about a few weeks ago are not certainties today nor might they be tomorrow. Things that we did not think or worry about a few weeks ago are not on the forefront of our minds, hearts, and spirits.

This moment in our families, our schools, our communities, our congregations, our country and our world is something we have never experienced before. It feels like the very foundation upon which we have built the structure of our lives and our way of being and moving in the world is shifting and crumbling around us. We are experiencing tremendous change and loss.

In light of this change and loss, we are grieving. Yet, we do not all grieve the same way and on the same timetable. Some are in denial, trying to convince themselves and others this is not really happening, or it is not as bad as others are making it out to be. Some are angry, frustrated, and mad that there is so much, which is out of their control. Some might silently be bargaining with God--making promises of what they will do if God protects them and their families from all that is happening around them.

Some are experiencing depression, unable to experience anything but fear and unable to see hope beyond the darkness and despair. Some are seeking to accept the reality that nothing will be the same on the other side of this crisis. The truth is all of us are experiencing waves of emotions and reactions in this moment of uncertainty. Some are experiencing the stages of grief not just in incremental steps, but also sometimes in the span of one day.

The realities we have come to expect and rely upon are shifting. In this moment, it feels as if we all are standing on shifting sand. As we try each day to find our footing, we might wonder as the Psalmist did, where does our help come? It comes from the Creator and Author of all life. In this moment of uncertainty, there is only one certainty-"Our help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth...who watches over all and will never slumber or sleep (based on Psalm 121)."

As we walk this journey together, may we be gentle, patient and kind with one another, and may we never forget our help comes from the Lord.

Blessings, Rev. Shana Johnson, ISC Conference Minister

Click here to see the Conference Minister update for March 20, 2020