Here we are, a third year into the pandemic. The threat of viruses is still here with us. But there is a sign of light at the end of the COVID tunnel tenuously appearing. Yet many of us feel as exhausted as at any time in the past two years.
Memory problems; short fuses; low energy; low motivation; fractured productivity that alternately puzzles and shames us; sudden drops into despair and for some, like myself who has history, feels frighteningly like a depression. We’ve felt disembodied and like we’ll never be the same again. Today, we as a nation, are facing an epidemic youth mental health emergency.
It had taken a collective toll on our emotional, mental and physical health with incredible stresses and losses. Isolation and loneliness from the pandemic have exacerbated the condition. But we just kept going.
What I’ve also experienced as I look back on the past 2 years and its many chapters, unprecedented wild fires and unstable weather patterns stemming from global warming and climate change, mass shootings in schools and public places, including the death of George Floyd, the racial reckoning and rupture, the drama of the election, the January 6th Insurrection, the assault on the bedrock of our democracy of peaceful transfer of power. There was a lot of adrenalin and stress hormone cortisol that got generated. These layers of trauma that we’ve been through, that just haven’t paused to acknowledge them, and to process and grieve.
I invite us to find time to pause for a while and slow things down to re-member what our bodies, minds, and souls went through and going through. Let’s cut some slack and practice self-compassion to our pandemic-beleaguered bodies for what we endured. You may want to repeat the manta to yourself, and possibly daily, to remind yourself that you are good enough.
I do enough.
I have enough.
I am enough.
As we turn the page from 2021 to 2022, I share this poem, “Ring Out, Wild Bells”, In Memoriam, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850.
“Ring Out, Wild Bells”
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
As we enter the new year and face the various complex challenges of our time, may we open our minds with new possibilities that God has in store for each of us, with the wisdom of the past, and with the emerging visions of the future. May we laugh regularly, never taking our selves too seriously. May we celebrate every moment for the gift that it is. And may we be grounded in God, extending love and compassion, first to ourselves and from there, to all beings from the core of our peaceful, radiant hearts.
In Christ, we live, breathe, and have our beings in unhurried rhythm of grace.