The Elephant in the Room!

I want to talk about the elephant in the room.

(Speaking of elephants – there is a seriously cool way to tell African elephants apart from Asian elephants – their ears! African elephants have large ears shaped like the continent of Africa! Asian elephants’ ears are smaller and shaped like India. Awesome – right! Jack taught me this on a recent trip to the zoo.)

So back to the proverbial elephant in the room. This year was hard on us.

I find myself standing here in June 2021 looking back over the past 16 months and being so thankful these particular “Covid-19 months” are behind us.

To be blunt this year has been hard for me. I am quite simply exhausted. My reserves aren’t just low. I am beginning to suspect my reserves might just be almost empty.   I am feeling drained and depleted. It wasn’t just Covid-19 and living through the pandemic – but Covid-19 certainly didn’t help!

This happens. I know.   Life is full of twists and turns and ups and downs. That’s why when we get married we promise to hang in there with each other “for better or for worse!”

Life is complicated. Sometimes life is incredibly complicated. “It is what it is” – is a phrase we use around our house when we are working on accepting something we would rather not accept. I have used – “it is what it is” quite often lately . . .

I am well aware that these past months have been complicated for most of us. We have been living through a global pandemic. There were going to be complications and stresses and messes and hurt.

This past year took a lot out of us. I am not alone in feeling exhausted. Person after person I talk to tells me that they are tired – worn down – feeling spread thin – exhausted . . . We had to dig deep to get through 2020 and into the spring of 2021. These past months have left so much hurt and grief and pain and disappointment and distress in their wake.

And now as we re-emerge from Covid-19 – all tired and worn out by what we have been through – many complicated – conflicting emotions are coming with us too.

Yes – we are so thrilled to see folks again! Our hearts are filled with joy over these reunions.   Hugs – there have been actual hugs and pats of the back! And smiles have been spotted too! Laughter has been heard. Lots of conversations and chattering and chatting.

It is so wonderful to feel a bit freer again. Safer out there in the world. I went mask free with a friend the other day – so cool!

It feels so good to be talking of putting this wretched monster of a virus behind us. But this monster of a virus hurt us. Covid-19 wounded us.

We are still healing. And it would be a huge mistake to pretend otherwise.

Of course we are happy to be emerging from quarantines and staying safe at home. Of course we are delighted to be wearing our masks less. Of course we give thanks for life-saving vaccines. Of course we give thanks for reunions and a return to the new normal.

But . . . I have been noticing

We are sad. Covid-19 made a massive mess of our world and our lives.

We are tired – even exhausted. Covid-19 asked us to dig really deep. We had to work harder and learn new things and do more.   We had to change A LOT! And it is so tiring to change anything and we change many – many things. It is depleting to miss loved ones. It takes a real toll on your heart and soul.

We are disappointed. We missed things we delighted in doing. Some of us missed “once in a lifetime” events like proms – graduations – and special moments with family and friends. We all missed something or someone. Many of us missed many things and many people.

We are grieving. Covid-19 took people we loved from us. Covid-19 took jobs – income – businesses – friendships – opportunities and TIME!

We are easily annoyed – even angry. I think we need to remember we are angry at the virus and not at other people! It was the virus that made a mess of our lives and our world. Covid-19 deserves our wrath not the sales clerk at Target – the school teacher – the health expert who says something you didn’t want to hear – the person who is slow to accelerate through green light – the person who holds an opinion that is different from our own (preaching to the choir on this one – sigh) . . . It was the virus that messed up our lives and took so much from us.

And we are impatient – so impatient. We want to return to what was NOW! RIGHT NOW!

We are many – many things.

Life is complicated.

We are not unscathed. We have been changed.

We are healing. Healing takes time. Healing is a process. Often healing takes work – intentional – thoughtful work.

And we all know if you deny an injury or illness or if you try to skip the hard work of recovery – you just end up hurting yourself even more.

The elephant in the room is we are hurting and we don’t want to be.   We want to act like we are fine now.   But are we? Are you?

Try being patient. Patient with yourself. Patient with others. Patient with the process of re-emerging and reopening. This is going to take time.

Offer grace. Grace isn’t just good. We know that grace is awesome.

You are all in my heart – thoughts – and prayers.

In Christ and with Love –

Pastor Kerri

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