I’m processing something. And I’m sorry if this just adds to the noise… I know everyone’s dealing with so much right now as Covid-19 rocks every one of our worlds. But as I’m journaling this morning, I’m working my way through feelings that are confusing to me, and I think I finally figured out what’s going on.
I feel like everyone is waking up to my world.
Not just my world, but the whole world of chronic illness – mental and physical.
There’s a low-level ache that’s sinking into the psyche of the American people. Feelings of disconnectedness, uncertainty, anxiety, isolation, and the want of things that cannot be in this moment.
And there are brilliant points of light – so much encouragement, affirmation, love, and prayers. Social media is flooded with the rallying support of people all over the world, pouring out what beauty and comfort they can into this very dark time.
And my heart hurts, because… this is it.
This is what we’ve needed all along – those of us with chronic illnesses, both mental and physical… This is the validation and hope and encouragement we’ve needed all along.
(And I’m so blessed, because I’ve had a powerfully encouraging community surrounding me. But my heart hurts for the majority of people I know who haven’t had that…or maybe they’ve had the opposite.)
But, you get it! You understand, now.
You’re stuck in your houses and you can’t leave. Or you can leave but there’s not really anywhere to go. You want to be with your friends, but you have to settle for text or Facetime or Zoom. Your days are all starting to look the same and you’re trying to implement healthy rhythms, but sometimes it hardly feels worth it. You’re forced to do things that are outside of your normal skillset (homeschool, anyone?) and it’s not like you can flip a switch and suddenly know what to do, you’re having to slog it out one day at a time.
You’re dealing with uncertainty of the future. You can’t see into tomorrow – you can’t make a plan for it and walk it out step by step – you’re forced to trust that God’s got this. You have to let go. You’re dealing with insecurity when it comes to resources. You don’t know if you’ll have enough. You don’t know if the world is going to be kind enough to leave some on the shelf for you once they’ve had their pick. You’re in over your head some days, and there’s no way out. You can’t wish this virus away.
But you’re making it. You’re still getting up every day. Some days are “real clothes” days, and some days just aren’t. You’re trying to stick to a schedule. Some days, it goes really well, and some days, it doesn’t. You’re breathing in and out and clinging to faith and the words of those God’s gifted to speak into this time in your life. You’re reaching out in the ways you can. You’re trying to still serve others in the midst. You’re doing it. You’re trying to encourage your own heart. You’re making it.
Yes. This is what it’s like.
People with chronic physical and mental illness have been walking this road every day for a really, really long time. And we’re making it, too!
I guess my hope and prayer is, if you’ve never experienced anything like this before, that your heart will be opened with compassion for those whose lives will still go on like this long after the government has cleared us to “go about our lives as normal.” This is our normal.
And we do have hope, that someday we’ll be healed. We have hope that this virus will run its course and we’ll find vaccinations or become immune as a people. And we also live with the reality that we just don’t know what’s going to happen – who’s going to get sick or live or die or what the timeline will look like.
I think one thing that is coming out of this global crisis is the unified connectedness of shared experience.
We’re all here, living through this weird moment, together. And my hope and prayer is that our hearts toward one another will stay open – stay compassionate – stay life-giving and encouraging – long after this crisis ends. My prayer is that we will emerge with more empathy than ever before for those among us with ongoing, daily, invisible struggles.
May the church be the first to continue to extend our words of hope and blessing to those in need for as long as they need it. ❤ And may you be encouraged in this time of uncertainty. May those of us who’ve lived it before (in our own ways) be banners of testimony to a good and faithful God who enables us, by His grace, to keep going in every season. ❤