Being part of this moment in time in a place that is experiencing so much pain and loss and at the same solidarity and fortitude is an amazing thing. And though it might sound strange, I am thankful to be a part of it.
I’ll be honest…when this thing started it was up north and I didn’t think too much about it. I did think the few people in town with face masks were exaggerating a bit. But I don’t think I was alone. I don’t think anybody could have imagined 4 weeks ago what was coming.
But then schools closed and we all started paying more attention to what was happening and how quickly it was happening. Every day there was a new decree, limiting our mobility more every day, until we arrived at the only acceptable reasons to be outside were to go to the pharmacy or the grocery store or walk your dog. Over the last few weeks life has become claustrophobic…and most of us don’t have a yard to which we can escape the smothering walls of our homes.
Down south we have watched reports in horror of the heartbreaking tragedy that is occurring in the devastated north, while our own numbers continue to rise. Gurneys with the sick fill hospitals to overflowing capacities. Because there is no more room for the sick many are at home without medical treatment. People are dying alone or with only strangers surrounding them. Caskets fill cemeteries and crematoriums, waiting for burial or cremation. It is horrific and heartbreaking. And it would be so easy to give in to the fear that rages outside the door. To be quite honest, the last week has been the hardest so far. Not so much with keeping fear at bay but with coping with numbers that refused to quit rising, I have had an overwhelming sense of sadness.
A song my friend, Jennifer, wrote several years ago has been on repeat in my mind in these days. The song was originally written after she and her husband lost a close friend, and I find the words to be like balm to my hurting heart, reminding me of God’s greatness, goodness, steadfastness, and nearness. The title is Grief, and below are some of the lyrics.
Sadness is everywhere Anger fills our souls It seems more than we can bear And we’re losing control It’s not the end of the story There’s so much more of it to be told Somehow You’ll use this for Your glory You won’t leave us wounded, jilted or alone Life is so fragile It’s here and then it’s gone But we can’t be fearful This world is not our home So we will be glad We will rejoice Even in our darkness We will make the choice To live in Your love Your comfort and peace Until we are restored And death has met defeat
Even though there is sadness and grief, there is hope. We don’t have to welcome in the fear that is knocking on the door. How can we have hope when everything around us reeks of fear and chaos and sadness and loss? My response is similar to what I told my son a few nights ago when he asked why God would let the Coronavirus happen or when my daughter confessed her fears. We remember that God is who He says He is. The Coronavirus has not changed Him. He is good and He has a purpose. He holds all things in His hands. We put our hope not in doctors and governments and face masks, but in God, who is in control of it all.
So on those days when the sadness is overwhelming, I will let myself feel that sadness and I will grieve the incredible loss of life. But I will also cling to the hope and rest I find in Christ, remembering in whom I find my joy even in the midst of sorrow. Even in this darkness, I will make the choice to live in His love, His comfort and peace.
Lyrics used with permission from Jennifer Smith.