Sing Your Blessings
One friend contracted Covid-19 who never goes in stores or restaurants but has eaten outdoors at restaurants. She is so depressed because she has children under five who have not been able to be vaccinated. They have been so careful. In being so very careful, they have also been more isolated. That isolation leads to greater anxiety and depression in many.
Here our Roc-19 Taskforce has advised that with both Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties at High Levels of Risk, we need to all mask all the time at UUCW unless a staff member has a private office where they can be alone. This means no staff lunches that were once a source of comradery and it means only eating outdoors for all of us at UUCW. I have chosen to have a few meetings and pastoral care committee gatherings on the benches outside the East doors just to be able to look in people’s eyes.
I have been looking at these charts from the State of Washington a lot lately. They show a cascade of trauma and disasters that can come when a community goes through an emergency. Often these disaster cascades are reserved for fires, earthquakes, or massive violence, but these days we continue to see the impacts of Covid-19 following the ebbs and flows of behavior health considerations after a trauma. This article does a great job explaining how much depression, anxiety, and suicide risk increase during community disasters. I appreciate too how it shares: “Certain populations, such as some ethnic and racial minorities, disadvantaged groups, those of lower socioeconomic status, and essential workers, continue to experience disproportionately more significant behavioral health impacts.15,16,17,18 Healthcare workers, law enforcement officers, educators, and people recovering from critical care may experience greater behavioral health impacts than those in the general population.”
What does that mean to us at UUCW? It means that with us being a helping, teaching, and faith community, we see people impacted more by reactions and behavioral health symptoms indicative of disasters. I know I have experienced shorter tempers, greater miscommunications and people reacting with less patience around me. I wonder if you have seen those behaviors too?
As I look at the charts showing the disillusionment and reconstruction, the honeymoons, and secondary disillusionment, I wonder, where are we now? The 5th reconstruction and the 6th disillusionment?
Grace is something we are always able to learn. I know I have had to give more grace and am appreciative when it is given to me. If you can give grace, give it freely. If you can give someone the benefit of the doubt, do it. If you can extend yourself for peace, try.
What you are feeling is normal. This disaster is not over.
For a bit of hope, consider more grace. Now is a time to practice gratitude. Start a gratitude jar.
Maybe it is time to add grace to your mealtimes. A favorite one we always sang was:
Earth who gives to us this food,
Sun who makes it ripe and good,
Sun above and earth below,
To you our loving thanks we show.
- Then my son would say: Blessings on our meal and peace on earth.
Here is someone singing some simple graces.
I send you grace and blessings. Don’t forget, we have wonderful lay pastoral care listeners. Let me know if you need one. Sharing your story is a great way to diffuse anxiety. Also, if you feel reticent to share your story, you probably need a listener more than ever.