Since I last wrote, life had pretty much returned to normal! The routines of life had become familiar once again: work days, Grannie days, family days and church life alongside my usual 3-monthly check ups at the hospital. All is well (I remain NED, no evidence of disease)!
Until suddenly without warning, all that changed!
A new C word has come crashing into our consciousness, this time not for me as an individual but for us as a planet – and it’s name now trips off our tongues as if we’ve known it for years!
Coronavirus and the disease it causes, Covid-19.
In only a few short weeks, we have become very familiar with this new disease; symptoms, shape, how to avoid catching it and what to do if we do….. It has also confined us to our homes and life as we’ve known it has stopped!
As you can imagine, my mind turned to mountains once again! For those of you who have been reading my blog over the past two years, you will know how mountains have featured as a metaphor in my life for tough times; spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual challenges. My journey through cancer treatment was analogous to climbing Everest!
This time we are climbing a mountain together as a whole world!
Our minds struggle to comprehend the enormity of this!
As a nation and nations, one of the challenges we are experiencing is corporate grief!
Separation and loss of time with loved ones, jobs put on hold, working from home, confinement to our homes, distancing ourselves from any human being we come across when going out for supplies, worry about communities in other parts of the world and ultimately, some around us losing our lives.
Alongside this, we find moments of joy – our weekly show of appreciation for the health care professionals in the NHS has moved us all! My daughter and granddaughter made this message and attached to the dustbin for the bin collectors this week.
Listening to exuberant birdsong on our daily walks has been a delight! Being able to see and talk to our friends and family on Zoom has brought comfort. Online Bible studies, prayer times and church meetings have strengthened our souls.
As a therapist, I am well acquainted with grief! It is part of my everyday life in the counselling room. Sadness, pain and anger are totally normal emotions for us to experience. Some days we might feel sad or fearful but what is also normal, is for us to enjoy light-hearted moments too.
Children are experts at this! They may be talking about something really painful one minute and then want to go and play a game the next! This is healthy grieving! It helps make grief manageable and not overwhelming.
As someone who has faith in God, the words in the Bible bring comfort to my soul.
He heals the brokenhearted and
binds up their wounds.
Jesus said these words in his famous Sermon on the Mount:
Blessed are those who mourn
for they shall be comforted.
God promises us comfort as we turn to him. But not only that, he goes further:
He has sent me to ……
comfort those who mourn and
provide for those who grieve in Zion –
bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning and
a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
I love this promise of a divine exchange! In the midst of suffering, we can experience beauty, gladness and joyful moments. BBC news shared one with us all the other day, when they showed an intensive care team bursting out in applause when their patient came off the ventilator and took their first breath unaided!
Whilst going through cancer treatment, I kept a journal of thankfulness. Each night I wrote down 3 things I was thankful for that day. I have continued to do this and am aiming to write down 1000 things I’m thankful for this year. Maybe you’d like to join me in this challenge!
Thankfulness turns our inward gaze
upwards to God
and outwards to those who need our love.