I have been finding myself at a loss for words. It seems lately there are no right answers and especially no good answers. I lack the words to pray. I lack the words to say. And this is very unusual for me. Typically I know what I think and feel about any given subject or situation. Yet COVID-19 and its effect on the world have simply left me confounded.
As a global community, we are grieving, lonely, agitated, and distanced. Many of us are losing our jobs, sense of belonging, and even our loved ones. What is happening right now is not right. And it is not good. And though I quickly try to move on from that harsh, unhappy reality, I recognize I would not be giving all of the lives lost, the jobs lost, the many, many sacrifices of health care professionals the weight they deserve. We must let them matter. Let them carry weight and take up space in us.
While it is natural for me to speak up in a time like this, to soothe, to beautify, I feel the heavy burden of silence, of stillness. Not to move on quickly and fix. Not to change the circumstance we all find ourselves in, but to embrace it–to mourn it, to grieve, to feel. To let God ultimately do the fixing, the healing, the soothing.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” –Matthew 5:4
As a mother it is my job to soothe and calm my children when they are disquieted. It is deeply inherent and instinctual in me. I have to fight everything in me to embrace this new way forward of relinquishing control and the urge to fix. To embrace my brokenness, my lack of words. To embrace the stillness and quiet that is offered to me.
Are you anything like me? Feeling too burdened by our current reality to speak? Unsure of the right words to comfort those around us or even ourselves? Unsure of the best way forward in all of this? Scared?
God, our Jesus, brings us a promise today, that those who mourn shall be comforted. We shall be soothed. We shall be quieted as we embrace the stillness of this moment. I would extend to you the challenge I am giving myself: embrace the quiet. You don’t have to speak the right words. You don’t have to fill this space with explanation, exultations, and opinions. You don’t have to heal it or fix it. You can let it be. Christ is with us, friends. May we place ourselves in his loving hands, and let him do his healing work.
May David’s prayer be our own:
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.
A breathing exercise for embracing stillness:
1. Find a quiet place and quiet yourself. Don’t turn on music. Let the silence carry weight, let it make your still. Take deep breaths in and out.
2. Open your palms and turn them upward, as if you were offering someone something from your hands.
3. As you breathe out, release the stress and pressure of this present moment. Allow God to take it from you. You may feel an emotional release or lifting of pressure.
4. As you breathe in, receive anew the peace of God, the healing balm of his presence. Let it wash over you.
Stay in this place of peace as long as you need to, and repeat the breathing as much as you’d like.