Affliction is anonymous; it deprives those it takes of their personality and makes them into things. It is indifferent; and it is the coldness of this indifference – a metallic coldness – that freezes all those whom it touches to the very depths of the souls.
Simone Weil, Awaiting God, p. 37
In mid-March, it became evident that our country would be afflicted like much of the world, and have to take the same measures to fight COVID-19. Since then, we have had to adjust to physical separation, self-isolation, long queues for groceries or online shopping and foregoing in-person socializing.
The change hasn’t been easy. Frustration, sadness and the inability to change our circumstances have stirred up emotions that have surprised or disappointed us.
Have you felt anger, impatience, powerlessness, guilt and depression? Have you been disoriented, unmotivated or lacking creativity? Or have you felt that you could get through effortlessly with ideas flowing freely only to fall back into a despairing mood. You may ask, “What is going on with me?”
The answer: You are grieving!
We often think that grief happens when someone we cherish dies. But actually, we grieve any time we experience loss in our lives. Having to self-isolate and keep physical distance is a tremendous loss of freedom and sense of control over how we can live our lives and whom we can see and when.
That’s why you may find yourself behaving or thinking in ways that seem out of character. You may tear up more easily or your emotions may be closer to the surface. All this is unsettling, but these emotions and reactions are normal, common manifestations of grief. We’re all there because these restrictions have affected us all.
N.T. Wright, the English theologian and professor recognized what is happening in us. In a New York Times articles entitled Christianity Offers No Answer About the Coronavirus. It’s Not Supposed To, Wright calls us to lament our loss because he understands that it is only by owning one’s grief that one can effectively seek the new possibilities God is creating for our future. I encourage you to read the article and reflect on it. Let God speak to your heart and let him know you are grieving for what you have lost. And let him carry you to the place where true freedom exists.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Matthew 5: 4 NIV
For further reading:
“Processing Grief During a Pandemic, When Nothing Is Normal,” by Elizabeth Yuko, RollingStone Magazine
The article gives a more in-depth view of grief and how to process it when a loved one has died and there can be no funerals.
Good Grief, by Granger Westberg
A classic resource that explains grief in simple language.
A Grace Disguised, by Jerry Sittser.
The author’s personal journey through loss and what helped him.
On Grief and Grieving, by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler.
A thorough description of grief.