I think many of us have already reached that point, the point of saturation in which COVID-19 is impacting us in ways we never before thought possible.
At first, it might have seemed like an extended vacation, and people were doing their best to try and adapt to all of the changes, as well as what was being asked of them. But now there is growing frustration and a bevy of feelings that are difficult to comprehend.
As unrest increases, the waiting is becoming intolerable and thus you are witnessing groups of people bucking the system and then accusing others of being complacent or not caring. Negativity is being fueled by uncertainty, and with that, loss is becoming more apparent.
As you know, grief takes on many forms. Right now, people are grieving the loss of jobs and income in which to provide for their families. They are grieving the loss of fellowship in their local churches and the ability to just walk alongside family and friends during a time filled with angst and heartbreak.
Right now I have several friends who are battling COVID-19, and the overall sadness of the situation they are facing grips my heart like a vise. I can hear the devastation in their voices as they wonder where they contracted it from when they have “done everything right and followed all the protocols,” and then question whether or not they have infected family, friends and patients and or complete strangers.
The guilt that ways on their minds is a valid feeling and yet none of us can judge them or point fingers because we have no one to blame but this dreaded virus.
You know what else people are struggling with? Anger. Anger is escalating to unwieldly proportions. The age old adage says, “It is easier to be mad than sad,” but the anger within us only festers and causes additional problems that we must face.
Increased mental health issues like stress and anxiety or depression are swiftly climbing up the charts, and still we are being asked to “wait.”
Wait for what, you might ask? For most, we are waiting for answers, and we are waiting for some semblance of normalcy. We long for the smell of barbecues, and we hold onto hope that summer plans are still a possibility, all the while watching to see what this pandemic is going to do and how we will emerge on the other side of its brutal presence.
If I may, I would like to remind us that there is still beauty in the waiting.
Many have shared their experiences and discussed growth and insights made possible by “being still,” a “forced pause” that no one saw coming.
Nature is ever present, and gratitude lists are being created as if to say, “Hey, yes, things are difficult, but you are still here and there is still much to be grateful for.”
I understand that in times like these feeling gratitude might be a hard stretch, but choosing to focus on things that we are being given, like being more intentional with our time or developing stronger relationships with family and friends, is an opportunity that cannot be overlooked.
We can and we will get through this, and our ability to see things from a new perspective only increases our chances that we will emerge stronger and more compassionate towards others.
Never ever forget compassion, especially during these times, and please know that your feelings of grief and loss are valid. Beautiful things are beautiful reminders that hope is the greatest and most beautiful gift of all.
Jenny Filush-Glaze is a licensed counselor and owner of Serenity Community Counseling LLC. Contact her at email@example.com.