Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
“By the rivers of Babylon—there we sat down and there we wept,
when we remembered Zion.” Psalm 137:1
My grandson, Camden, is four years old. One eighth of his life has been lived in the midst of pandemic disruption. Quite suddenly preschool classes ceased, playdates with friends were put on hold, he no longer would be able to run to his Bapa at the end of TLC worship to blow out the candles. Words of grief and loss are not easily articulated by children; they have neither the experience or the vocabulary to express their feelings. But like all of us they are grieving routines that are lost, hugs that no longer happen, and smiles hidden behind masks.
Yesterday, Camden said to his mother, “I want it to be today when the coronavirus stops so I can go to New York City with Kelsi! Did you know Manhattan is an island?”
I talk almost every day with grieving brides, grandparents, students, teachers, unemployed workers, or locked down senior citizens. The grief is felt deep inside; sometimes we don’t have words to express it, sometimes we don’t know what to do with it. Sometimes we feel guilty for feeling so bad when we have it so much better than most of the country or the world. But the grief is real, and the uncertainty leads to anxiety and depression. On occasion the grief comes out sideways at innocent bystanders, innocent bystanders who are dealing with their own grief.
Like the exiled children of Israel, we sit by the waters of Babylon and ache to return home to Jerusalem, to a previous life, to simpler days, to pre-pandemic routines. We long to worship together, to share the journey with others, to lift our prayers in safety, to hear the choir sing, to see little children scurrying about the church.
“I want it to be today when the coronavirus stops.” The anxiety-laden words of a four-year-old speak the truth of a weary people. It has been six months. We may have six more, but without question we are together in grief and sorrow, and we are one day closer.
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