Blessings, dear people of St. James! I hope this finds you and your loved ones safe and well. You know, it’s the strangest thing. Every morning, I wake up blissfully unaware of the pandemic. Does this happen to you, too, this nightly forgetting? And then the, “Oh. I remember now.”
We’ve been through a lot since the original stay-at-home order back in March, many scary and surreal moments. Adjustments, big and small, to how we arrange our work patterns, our children’s schooling, our retirement plans, our lives. We worry about contracting the virus, and the safety of loved ones, especially essential workers.
And because the people of St. James’ come from near and far, many of us wonder about the safety of family and friends across the globe, from Nigeria to the United Kingdom, Australia to Korea. In our concern, we anxious armchair epidemiologists try our best to understand and brace for the trends. Yet, despite these efforts, we face enormous and ongoing uncertainty.
We crave clarity, we long for a plan. We say to ourselves, “If only I knew what to expect, I could pace myself, manage, get through.” Meanwhile, conditions shift and change, upending our best laid plans.
I have spoken to many of you by phone over these past weeks, and you’ve shared your struggle with bouts of depression. I hear you. Even some individuals who have never before experienced depression know it now. Yes, we value the silver linings in this strange season: time with our children, reconnecting with old friends, and coming to better know ourselves. And still, this time is hard.
Here is what I want you to know. Fr. Kim, Fr. Jon, and I are here for you. Reach out to us. Let us know how you are doing. We love you and care about you, and want to comfort you and pray with you. If you find yourself facing financial crisis, let us know that too. Therapists and spiritual directors can help as well, so let us know if you need help finding them.
And finally this. In the words of Glennon Doyle, in Untamed, “This is hard. We can do hard things.” Friends, we can. Not by toughening up or pushing away difficult feelings – that never works for long – but by sharing our struggles with one another (call a friend from church…when you need help or sense they do). And by trusting God’s love. Because God loves us in and through every moment of our lives and beyond, including this hard moment now. So, trusting in this unstoppable, unbreakable love, we know…we can do hard things. Like this.
May God bless you and keep you.