One of the more challenging aspects of navigating through this pandemic & the resulting quarantine, isolation, disruption of any kind of normal, is the fact that there is no end date in sight. Over the last 5 months, we’ve seen just about every agency under the sun offer up a date on the calendar… a time when we could expect (hope?) that Things Would Be Back To Normal & we could expect the craziness to Be Over.
The dates have moved. The stated target goals have shifted. It’s almost like we’re in a holding pattern, waiting for someone, somewhere to offer up the “ALL CLEAR” so we can all take off our masks, let out a collective HEAVY SIGH of relief, & resume life.
It’s definitely taken a toll on mental, emotional, relational health & well-being. People are more stressed, more anxious, & more depressed.
I know I have experienced this 1st hand. I sought out (& got, & continue to get) help to process the mental/emotional/relational challenges. Some of the things that I’m doing as a part of my life & health routine are:
- Exercising at least 5 times a week;
- Checking in regularly with my spiritual director;
- intentionally reading my Bible a little more than usual, daily;
- daily worship times (sometimes w/my guitar, sometimes just listening to Spotify & singing along);
- spending more time reading for fun;
- sitting with theBean for at least an hour a night; no TV, just us, some good music & Nevada scenery
- making sure to check-in, in person as much as possible, when/where possible, with loved ones
Today I had lunch with a dear friend, Jake. In addition to being a top-notch homebrewer, baseball aficionado, husband, father, & friend, Jake is a mental health professional. So, over an incredible “Stetson Burger” (bacon & bleu cheese, w/the BEST onion rings I’ve ever had) from Beefy’s, I asked Jake for a suggestion (or ten) to help me (& others) with our mental & emotional health through this prolonged period of This Is Not Normal.
Jake’s encouragements were simple & straightforward:
- LET GO of the need to have answers to WHEN this Not Normal time will be over & done; we don’t know. No one does. ‘Anyone who says differently is selling something.‘
- EMBRACE MYSTERY as a very normal, very real, very present part of our lives.
This kind of mystery isn’t something we can call in Columbo or Sherlock Holmes or Monk (or pick your favorite detective) to solve. It is the reality that many times in life, there are things we can’t know, & as much as we’d like to be able to control & schedule & plan & dial-in our lives, in reality we can’t (anymore than we can control the wind or the tides.)
I was greatly comforted by Jake’s words – & I spend time on the way back to the office breathing in & out – prayers, asking God to continue to give me His peace & be peace to me that I can pass His peace on to others. I prayed for contentment – to be content with the mystery of Not Knowing, in the middle of the Not Normal. I thanked God that even while I am wrestling with my own struggles through this, HE is still in control, He is STILL on the throne, & He has been, is, & will continue to be preparing me for such a time as this. No matter how I feel.
Thanks Jake. Mystery, here I come to hug you.