Dear friends in Christ,
It seems that each new day brings unsettling news. Around the world, life is changing more rapidly than we can imagine as we face threats posed by the new coronavirus. I don’t know about you, but for the last week or so, each day seems like it passes quickly while yesterday seems like an eternity ago. It’s hard to keep up—practically, emotionally, and spiritually.
My friends who are parents of young children are frazzled at the idea of an indefinite time of home schooling. Friends who have health challenges are understandably worried about the spread of COVID-19. Many of us are trying to sort out what it might mean to be stuck at home and wondering if we’ll have enough to get by. As I talk with church leaders across the country, they are trying to figure out what church looks like at a time when we cannot safely gather.
For what it’s worth, my advice for everyone is this: be gentle with yourself.
We need to pace ourselves, because this crisis is probably going to be with us for several months, in one form or another. We don’t have to do everything today. We don’t have to pretend we have any idea what tomorrow will bring. We don’t have to act as if we’re not exhausted from yesterday. We don’t have to know all the answers. We don’t have to get it right.
It’s OK to ask for help: help from our family, friends, neighbors, and most especially from God. Social distancing does not prevent us from talking with one another. Staying at home does not preclude friendships, even if it means we need to be on the phone or talking via video on our computers.
Try to rest, if you can. It’s going to be a long haul. If you know someone else who is struggling and you have the capacity, offer to help. Pray for others. Perhaps you can offer a word of reassurance and encouragement.
We’re all doing our best. And our best isn’t perfect. Forgive yourself when you get it wrong, and forgive others too.
As we persevere through this challenging time together, I encourage you to say this prayer before you sleep each night. It’s just what I need to pray, and you might find it helpful, too.
Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP, page 133)
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