Week one was busy.
There were so many things to figure out. There were new routines and constant processing and dealing with what was right in front of us. It was moving to our online worship time and calling everyone in church and a thousand meetings. I didn’t have much time to think about anything.
Week two was keeping up.
It was putting the systems in place and thinking big picture. It was helping people use technology and dealing with glitches during live streaming. It was figuring out some version of “homeschool.” It was getting through it.
Week three was…emotional.
This week was planning an Easter service we could do online and letting go of months of other plans. It was preparing for a spring where our church won’t see each other in person. It was having hard talks about finances and projects and what pastoral care will look like when people start getting sick, or even dying.
It was parks being roped off. It was announcements to plan for this to last until June. It was cancelled trips. It was realizing this really was going to go on a long time. It was letting go, over and over and over.
This week it started to feel like too much.
So this week in my house was lots of tears. This week was cries of “I can’t do this anymore” and “I miss my friends too much.” This week was breakdowns. This week was “Can you rub my back until I fall asleep?” This week was “I hate this!” This week was “Talking online isn’t the same!” This week was “Sure, you can watch another episode of Duck Tales” – because that’s about what we could manage.
This week, we have declared, was covidcrapular.
There was so much sadness in our house this week and it seemed pointless to pretend we weren’t all feeling the same way. When my daughter cried, I said “I’m with you, honey.” When my family got to feeling overwhelmed I said: “Let’s eat popcorn.” “Yes,” I said, when we saw the mountain brow roped off, when the new school dates were announced, when we thought about the months of this ahead: “This is COVIDCRAPULAR.”
It’s true that we are not on the front lines, and that our experience of this time likely seems insignificant in comparison. I am not trying to compare. But I am trying to make space for the feelings all of us have in this season, including those doing what they can by staying at home. I am trying to make space for my own feelings. For me, this week was rough. I miss my people. I miss my routines. I am struggling to parent my overwhelmed children. I feel useless. I don’t want to do this anymore.
I don’t think I’m alone in struggling this week.
This tidal wave of reality seemed to hit a lot of us hard this week, and with that came the waves of grief, loss, sadness and fear. I think all of this is normal. Until now, we were in crisis management mode. We were letting the adrenaline carry us. But there comes a time when those things crash and we have to face the covidcrapular long term. This week seemed to be that time for lots of us.
That meant that this week we had to figure out how to get through it, because while this week was hard, it’s also not the last one we’re going to have when the emotions get overwhelming. We have a lot of weeks ahead, and they will definitely have lots of covidcrapular moments. Here’s what we are learning:
Make Space for the Feels
This week we agreed together that we can feel whatever we are feeling. Sad is okay. Worried is okay. Exhausted is okay. This is true for all of us.
You are also entitled to any emotion you are having. So are your kids. Your feelings might not always make sense. There are people who have it worse. AND we can say “I feel sad.” We can say “I am struggling.” We can say “I find this hard.” We don’t have to brightside it or undermine it or pretend we feel anything but what we do. Let the crap be the crap. Eat popcorn. Watch Duck Tales. Lament to a friend.
These are extraordinary times, the likes of which we have never lived through before. Of course we don’t know what to do. We’re all just muddling through. Don’t beat yourself up on the days you have to throw the routine aside. Don’t be hard on yourself for needing space to be sad.
Celebrate the Covidtacular
We started a second word in our house this week: Covidtacular. Covidtacular is defined as: “Something that normally wouldn’t be that big a deal but in light of everything it feels awesome.”
We had lots of covidtacular moments this week. We tried to create them and name them and celebrate them. They included: having an afternoon tea in our backyard, phone calls and messages to my daughter who really needed them, flowers left on our front step by friends, pizza delivered to us by someone we love, eating a box of leftover Christmas chocolates, sunshine, and – as mentioned: Duck Tales (Thank the Lord for Disney Plus!).
I don’t know what week four will bring. I am learning to let each week be what it is. And I am slowly accepting that we have a lot of weeks left to go. I know some of them will be covidcrapular and I know that’s okay. I know we can also find the covidtacular. And I know God is with us in both.
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