My children have a book called “in my heart“. Each page beautifully describes the many feelings our heart can experience.
“ Sometimes my heart feels like a big yellow star, shiny and bright. I smile from ear to ear and twirl around so fast, I feel as if I could take off into the sky. This is when my heart is happy.”
The book serves as a tool for children to name what they feel, to find words and images to describe the many things that happen inside us when the world affects us.
I love this book. So do my kids.
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, We all have big feelings. I write this to share some of mine.
Nearly a month ago, we decided to move church online. All of a sudden a ministry calling that was once about bringing people together & creating space for bravery and vulnerability became a vocation about producing online material, quality sermon videos, and engaging social media posts. I thought to myself: this is when my heart feels creative. We can change everything we do about ministry in an instant, we will build the plane as we fly…
Three weeks ago, our two and four-year-olds’ school closed. We went from having full-time childcare to balancing full-time jobs with toddlers at home. Friends and church members talk about being bored and taking on new disciplines, projects, and crafts. And yet-I have never felt more exhausted and rundown in my entire life. I thought to myself: this is when my heart feels stretched. Andrew and I can split the daylight hours, we won’t see each other much or have family time but we can each work a full day if one starts at dawn, then alternate at nap time- doing work until bed.
Two weeks ago, Andrew and I canceled our 10th wedding anniversary cruise to Alaska scheduled for June. I thought to myself: this is when my heart feels patient. We will have to postpone this beautiful trip.
Last week, our oven stopped working, our dog ate a nest of baby bunnies, and the kids’ tantrums escalated. It was only then I felt I could say out loud what all of this feels like: grief. This is when my heart feels grief.
For me, in this pandemic, everything is grief. It’s not patience or creativity or stretching, or hustling. This is grief. We’ve lost our routine, our support, our community, our ability for balance, our family time.
I’d love to come up with creative adjectives and words for what this feels like. But the truth is: it’s grief, it’s stress, it’s overwhelming.
This is holy week. In our tradition it’s considered the darkest before the dawn. It’s a time when we remember that there have been many times in the past and there will be many in the future when it feels like all is lost. When the things we care most about are buried, dark, and even dead. And yet it’s in the darkness that light emerges. It’s out of the darkness where hope overwhelms the world.
So for all of you out there turning yourselves and pretzels: pretending behind the curated Facebook post about the triumphant parenting win or the excessively productive workday, know this: it’s OK to not be OK. We are all doing our very best. These are difficult times. And yet, the creator of the whole universe often whispers good news into times such as this.
So we wait. We lament. We pray.
And we know, no matter what, God is with us. Our story is an eternal story beyond this moment, beyond these hardships. Out of darkness, our God brings light. Easter is coming. Hallelujah!