So, how are you doing?  Really.  How are you doing?  Personally, I have good days and bad days.  Ups and downs within every day.  I am finding myself in what I affectionately call my “worry loop.”  I think about everybody I love.  I call my parents to check in and lecture them about staying at home as much as possible. I worry.  My boyfriend, Neill, is a sportswriter/editor for the Journal Inquirer and still going to work in person most days.  So I worry.  My sister and brother-in-law are in Washington State where there’s been many cases of COVID-19.  I worry.  I’m not sure when our congregation can return to worship in person safely.  So I worry.  I’m wondering how to keep our church staff safe and realized that working from home and modeling “staying safe, staying home” is important.  But I still worry.  How is everyone in our congregation doing?  I worry.  And on and on and on.  This is my personal worry loop.  And then it extends to worrying about what’s happening in Colchester and Connecticut and America and the world.

Now I wish that I could write, “And then I remember that Jesus told us not to worry and my worrying goes away!”  It doesn’t.  Though what I can tell you is that I allow myself to have the worry loop and then I take a deep breath and channel Paul’s words to “pray without ceasing” in 1 Thessalonians. I say a quick prayer and ask God to help me hold the worry loop.  That’s it.  Don’t make it go away because it won’t right now.  Help me feel my feelings and acknowledge them.  Just be in the worry loop with me, God, because somehow that does make me feel better, knowing that I am not worrying alone.  And maybe, you’re worrying too for this world you created and love?

Another helpful way to think about where we are (I hope) is to name our feelings, whatever they may be.  Worried.  Scared.  Angry.  Lonely.  Name it.  Feel it.  And don’t attach shame or judgment to how you’re feeling.  It was Pema Chodron, the Buddhist teacher, who advised, “Feel the feelings, drop the story.”  There’s a wonderful article going around from the Harvard Business Review, “That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief.”   Scott Berinato interviews David Kessler, the world’s foremost expert on grief, to think through how we may be feeling a number of griefs these days.  I commend it to you and leave you with this advice as your Pastor who does love you—allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling without judgment or shame.  Name your feeling.  Feel your feeling.  And remember that God is with you, wherever you are on your journey.  We will get through this, together. 

Pastor Lauren 

(This Week’s Thoughts 3.26.20)