Saturday was a tough day for me … and probably for many of you.
We learned that the city government had taken the appropriate steps to declare a stay-at-home order for our city for the next 30 days. Although our lives have already been altered a lot in the last couple weeks, this new announcement still felt weighty and troubling for many of us. The implications for our personal lives, our families, our jobs, and our economy are yet unknown, but feel distressing. As I corresponded with friends and loved ones, I encountered people going through all the various stages of grief (namely denial, anger, and depression).
I guess that what I want to say to you today is that it is ok to feel those things.
There is disappointment and loss connected with the spread of the coronavirus and the measures that we must take to reduce it. As Christians, we need to not just put on a smile and a shrug. We don’t need to just tell everyone that we are ok and that they will be ok, too – at least not the “pat-on-the-head” kind of ok. To be a people of hope and joy (which we are) does not require that we be a people of perpetual happiness and simplicity.
We can be sad and hopeful at the same time. Those things are not mutually exclusive.
I’m sad. I’m sad that my kids aren’t going to get to spend time with their friends and extended family for the next month and that their school year has been cut short. I’m sad about the financial burden that this will place on many people, some of whom are already being crushed. I’m sad that we don’t get to be physically together as a church, worshipping and loving each other as Jesus intended – including Easter Sunday (I can hardly bear the thought). I’m also sad that I don’t get to do some of the things that I love, like sitting across a table from friends over a cup of tea or shopping for sneaker deals at the mall. :)
However, I’m also hopeful. I’m hopeful that God has something good for my family in the next 30 days. I don’t know what it is, but I’m hopeful that we will grow together and that strong bonds will be forged in quarantine. I’m hopeful that people (especially Christians) will find a way to care for one another in the wake of this mess that will help our city to thrive post-virus. I’m hopeful that we will find new ways to build community as a church from our homes and that, when we come back together someday, it will be a powerful celebration. Lastly, I’m hopeful that God has something that he wants to do in me, Dean Behrens, and in you too. I’m hopeful that if I wake up each day and look to him, and offer him whatever I have, that he might want to use this time as something special in me, making something full and beautiful out of something sad and stressful.
Sad and hopeful. That’s where I’m at today. Have a great week. I’m praying for you. Remember to read and memorize Psalm 23 this week!