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BY JENNIFER NEYHART

March 24, 2020


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We can only do good to others if we work with our own true feelings
There are two recent articles on the collective grief we are all dealing with right now as a result of the global pandemic: "That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief" in the Harvard Business Review and "Grieving the Losses of Coronavirus" in The New York Times.
"God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
    though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
Selah"  - Psalm 46:1-3

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:4-7
We are all dealing with anxiety and all kinds of losses, some big and some small, but they add up, and it can feel like way too much. The Harvard Business Review article points out the multiple kinds of grief we are feeling collectively right now, including anticipatory grief about the uncertainty of what is still to come.

We all know we are living through a very unusual time right now. We are anxious, afraid, angry, and grieving our losses. It can help us to acknowledge these things. Let us make space for each other to process all of our tumultuous feelings. As our beloved Mr. Rogers said, "what is mentionable is manageable." 

The scripture passages from Psalm 46 and Philippians 4 remind us that God is near to us in this time of uncertainty and fear. As we seek to adapt to all of the changes we are facing, we need to continue to practice self-care and protect our mental health in the face of everything that feels chaotic, uncertain, and scary. We do this for ourselves and for each other, so we can keep fighting for a better world, a more just world. 
Protect your mental health:
  • Eat some vegetables, take a walk outside if you can, drink plenty of water.
  • Put down your phone and limit how much you are immersing yourself in the news
  • Allow yourself to feel your feelings
  • Give yourself time to be still, meditate, pray, etc. (I found Sarah Bessey's "Breath Prayers for Anxious Times" to be very helpful.)
  • Focus on what you can control: washing your hands, keeping a safe distance, etc.
God, be our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in our times of trouble. Give us your peace that passes our human understanding. Quiet our minds. Help us know that we are not alone and that we are loved. Amen.
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