EMPATHS

Father comforts a sad child. Problems in the familyContinue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrews 13:3

 

The Wake Up by Catherine Ryan Hyde is a novel about a successful cattle rancher who suddenly “wakes up” to the animals on his ranch. This seemingly seasoned rancher discovers he feels the pain of the animals he raises and sells, rendering him no longer able to conduct “business as usual” on his ranch. His relationship with a young mother and her troubled teenaged son provides more opportunities for the rancher to experience his profound empathy towards both animals and people, completely changing his approach to life and the animals and people he cares about.

 

While reading The Wake Up, I had an epiphany of my own. With over thirty years as a professional counselor, I have always been a “soft heart,” caring a great deal for the students and clients I have worked with. And as an adult child of an alcoholic mother, I have often accepted the role of caretaker in personal relationships, even when that may not be my healthiest role. This book made me realize how much emotion I often invest in concern about people I don’t even know and may never meet. When I see the news about natural disasters, I am often moved to tears with compassion over how much the people and animals are suffering. It nearly does me in to see images of victims of mass shootings, racial hatred, child abuse—and the list goes on and on.

 

It is not lost on my that Jesus was—and is—an empath too. He labored in prayer for His disciples and all of His followers, and even included those persecuting Him and ultimately executing Him in His petitions for forgiveness. The disciples and the Apostle Paul emulated Christ’s compassion; Paul’s letters are mostly passionate pleas for peace and wellbeing for those whose paths he had crossed. It comforts me to know that Jesus bears my burdens too, including the weight of my concern for those whose lives are filled with trouble. I’m not sure I could live in this broken, sorrow-filled world without the grace and love of my Savior to see me through.

 

Jesus, You said there would be trouble in this world, but thank You for overcoming the world! Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. To date, she has written nearly 700 different devotions, filling one book of daily readings, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she had hoped would be completed by now. She posts once a week, which means in seven years, she will have enough entries to fill a second book. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, so Meg is pacing herself, enjoying spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg is involved in volunteer work at her church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and also with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .

GREAT LEADERS BUILD BRIDGES

Christ Bridge to GodFor it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 23:8-9

 

When I accepted Christ as my personal savior, I was twenty-nine years old. I had not attended church regularly in my life; I knew nothing about the Bible and what it meant. But my sister had once given me a King James version of God’s Word, and I discovered that I could suddenly read and understand the text somewhat. Knowing I needed much more understanding, I enrolled in a weeks-long course called the Bethel Series, which used graphic illustrations to help those in the class remember what various Scripture passages meant. The one I remember the most clearly to this day is the illustration of the cross of Christ bridging the gap between humankind (me) and sin (also me), leading to reunion and reconciliation with God.

 

I soon began to understand that (a) by my very nature as a human being, I am a sinner, falling short of God’s glory, and (b) I didn’t need to do anything because Christ’s death on the cross had already bridged the gap between me and God. His cross stood for Grace, the unearned, unmerited forgiveness of my faults, shortcomings, stupid behavior, and all the rest that I thought was a permanent stain on my life. Gone. Just like that. And after several decades of following Christ, I am still gob smacked that, in spite of my continued “humanness,” the Lord’s mercies are new every morning.

 

Over the years, I have realized how inexplicably intertwined my career path of social work and counseling have been with my faith walk. I have always been an empath, showing heartfelt compassion and caring for those I met in my life. But being a practicing Christian deepened the meaning behind that concern for others and filled in the cracks with renewed purpose. And in all my work years, I could clearly see that effective leaders—including myself—build bridges to connect people. How else, I asked myself often, would we ever get “unstuck” without the bridges? It had worked for me in a simple introductory religion class, and it works for all of us.

 

Jesus, strengthen us to follow Your example and create bridges to wholeness for others. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. To date, she has written nearly 700 different devotions, filling one book of daily readings, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she had hoped would be completed by now. She posts once a week, which means in seven years, she will have enough entries to fill a second book. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, so Meg is pacing herself, enjoying spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg is involved in volunteer work at her church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and also with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .

OPTIMIST AT THE APOCALYPSE

Optimist at the Apocalypse“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down….” Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to be fulfilled?” Mark 13:2-4

 

I recently read an article describing a prominent female political figure as “an optimist at the Apocalypse.” I did not agree with that assessment, and no, I won’t name the political figure or the writer! But I began to think what that would mean to stand watching this world spin out of control and out of existence and be optimistic about that event. Webster defines “optimist” as “a person who is inclined to be hopeful and to expect good outcomes.” And the Apocalypse is described as “the expectation of an imminent cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the ruling powers of evil and raises the righteous to life in a messianic kingdom.” So observing this “cosmic cataclysm” with mirth and glee might not be everyone’s picture of the “end times.” Hollywood has made many people very rich producing disaster movies that bring viewers to the edges of their theater seats if not their sanity. It is downright scary to consider being a witness to the earth’s demise!

 

The Gospel of Mark recounts Jesus telling the disciples a bit about what the end times will be like. He speaks of false prophets, deception, “wars and rumors of wars,” earthquakes, and famines (Mark 13:6-8). But still the timing of the end will not be clear to us. Many cling to the promise that “the gospel must first be preached to all nations” (v. 10) before the end will come. But we are not to concern ourselves with what we must say if asked to tell why we believe in God’s merciful love, kindness and justice. Jesus says, “Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit” (v. 14).

 

Why is it whenever the disciples—like us—are freaking out about life, Christ just raising His holy hand and says, “Fear not?” Well, if there ever was an “optimist at the Apocalypse,” friends and neighbors, that would be Jesus Himself.

 

Lord, You say “Fear not.” Teach us to trust You today and always. Amen

 

Alone on a Colorado mountain, Meg Corrigan faced the unthinkable, a situation that almost ended her life. Learn the details of her astounding rescue from the hands of a gun-wielding attacker and how she walked off that mountain. Hers is a story of tragedy turned holy, a journey of sorrow and healing, a powerful message of hope in the darkest hour. In her memoir, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, Meg credits her resilience to the grace of God. She is also the author of Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, tales based on her years as a drummer in a Hawaiian show band; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, released this month. Meg is a retired college counselor, author, speaker, trainer and sexual assault survivor. She speaks to churches, civic groups, college students, mental health professionals and law enforcement personnel, as well as youth in juvenile facilities. She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota with her husband, Patrick. She loves to coax seemingly dead plants out of the soil in her yard. The couple have four daughters, ten grandchildren and a great-grandchild on the way. Contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net or www.MegCorrigan.com .

CRUISE CONTROL

Cruise Control“Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” Luke 8:45

 

There was a frozen fog the morning I picked Agnes up at the farm. Her only child, Edgar, stood peering at me from the barn. I went in the house and helped Agnes pack her one small suitcase, but I didn’t see Edgar sneak in behind me. We turned to leave, his mother hugged him. He looked straight at me and said, “Take care of her.” “I will,’ I said. After forty-six years of marriage, Agnes, a sixty-five year-old farm wife of an alcoholic and violently abusive man, was going to a women’s shelter seventy miles away. The public health nurse had told me the family were “backward.” Edgar did two years in the Army but came right home to help his mother. Seventy milk cows and thirty stanchions meant lots of bellering in the cow yard. His father Alfred could not be counted on. The corn stood unharvested. I didn’t know which was greener: the young county social worker picking Agnes up or the withering stocks in the field.

 

Oddly, we passed Alfred on the gravel road as he was returning to the farm, driving the tractor because he had lost his license for driving drunk. Agnes didn’t even duck, and Alfred wouldn’t know my vehicle anyway. I hit the highway and set the cruise. Agnes stared wide-eyed. “The car drives herself?” she asked. “How can thaThe shelter staff saw Agnes to her tiny room and explained the daily schedule. We all feared she would not fit in with the younger women and their small children at the shelter. But Agnes surprised us. She became the “house mother” to all those new moms; their children flocked to their new “grandma.” Agnes had been courageous to leave her abusive husband. She had turned off the “cruise control” of her daily life of sorrow and found a place where she was useful and cared for. Just as the woman who touched the robe of Christ found there was hope for healing and new life, Agnes found a way to begin again.

 

Lord of Justice, the hands of those suffering domestic violence are reaching out for help. Show them ways to break the chains that bind them and lead then to better lives. Amen

 

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you or someone you know suffers at the hands of an abuser, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-7997233. Is this abuse? Follow this link: https://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/

ETERNAL IMPLICATIONS

EternityFor salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light…live honorably…,not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:11-14

 

It was a terrible week. We had just buried my father in Las Vegas, Nevada. I had flown back to Minnesota with my mother, placing her in an assisted living facility in spite of her pleading me to let her come and live with me and my new husband. I would not last a week with my mother, an eighty-nine year-old chronic alcoholic, living under the same roof as us. But I promised my father I would look after her, and I was doing the best I could. I was being laid off from the college where I worked, and I wasn’t sure I would have another job to go to at the end of the school year. With no time off left, I was trying to liquidate my parents’ home and belongings in Las Vegas via phone and email. A nursing assistant who had cared for my father asked to buy two recliners, but requested I hold the check until the first of the month. In the midst of all this chaos, the check fell out of my purse at a drugstore while I was filling my new prescription for anti-anxiety medication.

 

The pharmacist found the check and called the nursing assistant in Las Vegas. She called me and came unglued. She berated me first for losing the check, then for not being with my father when he died, then for “uprooting” my mother and dragging her to Minnesota in the middle of the winter. For what seemed like a very long time, I listened to her abuse and prayed for serenity. God delivered in spades. I took a deep breath and told her to keep the recliners, no payment was necessary. I thanked her for taking care of my parents when I could not. I am not always so gracious, but with God’s help, I made the best of an awful situation.

 

Jesus, Lord of Peace, help us see the eternal implications of our actions. Keep us in perfect peace. Amen

 

Alone on a Colorado mountain, Meg Corrigan faced the unthinkable, a situation that almost ended her life. Hear the details of her astounding rescue from the hands of a gun-wielding attacker and how she walked off that mountain. Hers is a story of tragedy turned holy, a journey of sorrow and healing, a powerful message of hope in the darkest hour. In her memoir, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, Meg credits her resilience to the grace of God. She is also the author of Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, tales based on her years as a drummer in a Hawaiian show band; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, released this month. Meg is a retired college counselor, author, speaker, trainer and sexual assault survivor. She is a member of the RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) Speakers’ Bureau. She speaks to churches, civic groups, college students, mental health professionals and law enforcement personnel, as well as youth in juvenile facilities. She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota with her husband, Patrick. She loves to coax seemingly dead plants out of the soil in her yard. The couple have four daughters, ten grandchildren and a great-grandchild on the way. Contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net or www.MegCorrigan.com .

GREATER THAN OUR PAIN

Elijah Cummings 1951-2019I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

 

We lost a beloved leader last month. United States Congressman from Maryland Elijah Cummings, a sharecropper’s son and civil rights champion, died on October 17, 2019 at the age of sixty-eight. Cummings’ booming bass voice was a beacon for the poor in his black-majority district of Baltimore. Amid partisan politics, Cummings challenged his fellow legislators to “stop invoking fear, using racist language and encouraging reprehensible behavior.” He believed deeply in our nation’s democratic government, which George Washington called “the last great experiment for promoting human happiness.”

 

Those who knew Cummings understood that he endured much physical pain. In 2017, Cummings underwent a minimally invasive heart procedure, which led to an infection that kept him in the hospital longer than expected. He was later hospitalized for a knee infection. During his last days in Washington, he moved with obvious difficulty, using a cane and a walker. Following his death, his body was brought to the Capitol rotunda for public respects to be paid. Many prominent dignitaries, including two presidents, spoke at Cummings memorial service. But to me, the one who best described Cummings was his own congressional aide, Harry Spikes. Traveling together, Spikes and his mentor-boss spent many hours talking and sharing their perspectives. Spikes reported that Cummings never seemed to experience pain when he was speaking publicly about his passion for our democracy, human rights and the marginalized in our society. He told Spikes: “Remember to be greater than your pain.” At one of his last speaking opportunities, the topic was religion and racism. The crowd stood when he entered the room. Humbled, Cummings said, “I am going to stand up for you until I die.” He kept that promise.

 

Cummings had a profound faith in God and in our democracy. We can look to the words of the Apostle Paul to inspire us to follow the congressman. Like Cummings, Paul spoke of a future bright with promise in Jesus Christ. In Romans 8, Paul says, “those who live according to the Spirit (of Christ) set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” This is the key to life and peace.

 

Father God, we thank You for “the great cloud of witnesses” like Elijah Cummings who have gone before us. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. To date, she has written nearly 700 different devotions, filling one book of daily readings, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she had hoped would be completed by now. She posts once a week, which means in seven years, she will have enough entries to fill a second book. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, so Meg is pacing herself, enjoying spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg is involved in volunteer work at her church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and also with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .

THE JELLINEK CURVE

JellinekCurve860x655No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but…He will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

 

Alcoholism is a progressive disease. Dr. E.M. Jellinek studied alcoholism, addiction and mental health continuously from the 1930’suntil his death in 1963. Thanks to Jellinek’s acute interest in the personal drinking histories of many subjects, the doctor sought to educate the public about the gradual descent into oblivion that chronic alcoholics experience. His “Jellinek Curve” illustrates these deteriorating alcoholic behaviors, as well as the corresponding healthy behaviors when an alcoholic chooses sobriety. It is no coincidence that the “Curve” shows a beginning, a descent into the bottom of the curve, and a not-so-easy climb back out of the depths of addiction.

 

Chronic addictive behaviors, including alcohol and drug addiction as well as gambling, overeating, spending, sexual deviances, and many other obsessions, are indeed diseases (a condition that prevents the mind and body from working normally), and they are progressive (becoming increasingly worse without intervention to stop the process). But one hallmark of these compulsions is that recovery begins with a conscious choice to change. When I read 1 Corinthians 10:13, I am always struck by my own shortcomings. The passage brings me up short when I realize that I can, with God’s help, resist any and all temptations that befall me. I am not chemically dependent, but I have loved and lived with and lost more alcoholics than I care to remember. And I know it is not so easy for them to accept God’s help to end the cycle of addiction.

 

Does 1 Corinthians 10:13 apply to addictions? Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill W. said men and women who abuse substances “have not only been mentally and physically ill, (they) have been spiritually sick.” Many of the most successful addiction treatment programs include faith and spirituality. Clearly, an addicted person needs a profound change of thinking about herself to achieve sobriety, and one time-honored path to positive self-awareness is faith in God. As with any major life transition, support from friends, family, and society—including our faith communities—can improve the journey away from addiction.

 

Healing Lord, touch those with addictions where they need Your help. Restore them to wholeness. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. To date, she has written nearly 700 different devotions, filling one book of daily readings, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she had hoped would be completed by now. She posts once a week, which means in seven years, she will have enough entries to fill a second book. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, so Meg is pacing herself, enjoying spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg is involved in volunteer work at her church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and also with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .

CAREFULLY TAUGHT

Carefully TaughtThere is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

 

“How would you distill your thoughts, experiences or observations about race into one sentence (of) six words?” This is the challenge given by former National Public Radio host Michele Norris with The Race Card Project. People are encouraged to condense their observations and experiences about race into one sentence with just Six Words. Since it began in 2010, the Project has received tens of thousands of Six Word stories from throughout the world. One entry was: “You’ve got to be carefully taught,” which has special meaning for me.

 

Those six words are the title of a song from Rogers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific,” a popular Broadway musical and movie in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. This production told of cross-cultural love affairs in the South Pacific during World War II. Two threads of my life intertwined to make me acutely aware of the lyrics of the song: one, my forward-thinking high school music director chose “South Pacific” as a school production my senior year, 1964. And two, I was simultaneously being raised by racially prejudiced parents. While my part in the musical was only a small one, the impact the story line had on me was profound.

 

In one of two uncomfortable relationships in the musical, Caucasian actor John Kerr sang the song to his Asian lover, played by France Nuyen. In an attempt to explain to her how their respective races cast a dark shadow on their relationship, Kerr sings, “You’ve got to be carefully taught/to hate and fear/you’ve got to be taught/from year to year/it’s got be drummed in your dear little ear/you’ve got to be carefully taught.” The portrayal of this risky relationship raised eyebrows and hackles at the time. Parents of my classmates—and my own parents—thought the characters were too controversial for impressionable teenagers to portray. The music director persevered and the show went on.

 

Today, there is a resurgence of hatred of “the other” rising in the world. Jesus never intended for us “to be carefully taught” to hate people of other races. Our Lord mandates us to love others as He loves each of us.

 

Jesus, carefully teach us tolerance and unconditional love for all humankind. Amen

LEMONADE STANDS

A lemonade stand for 25 cents a cup

A classic summer lemonade stand.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Psalm 127:3

 

During this pandemic, I really miss lemonade stands! Children selling lemonade to passers by is one of the sweetest, purest things in our society. I have been known to slam on my brakes (while looking carefully in all directions) and even turning around and going back to stop at a lemonade stand. I never pass them by, no matter how late I may be for an appointment or how many errands I have to run that day. Plus, I love lemonade, even if it’s watered down and slightly warm.

 

I cherish and honor this tradition, because it says so much about the family behind the project. Kids can’t sell lemonade on their own! There has to be a collaborative effort between them and their parents, or at least some older, responsible (and loving) siblings or even grandparents. Somebody has to buy the lemonade, cups and napkins. Pitchers have to be rounded up, and some sort of a “store” set up. An adult has to go get some cash, and the child has to be shown how to count money and make change. Will there be treats too? Who will bake or buy them? Will the child need to reimburse the parents for supplies? Somebody has to take time to help the child get set up in her new enterprise, provide encouragement for the operation, and be on hand when it’s over. A lemonade stand doesn’t just happen by itself. It’s a family effort, something to cheer about, something to support. It’s an American institution and it’s my civic duty to be involved. Cue the marching band!

 

Proverbs 22:6 says parents should “start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” And the Apostle Paul advises his protégé Timothy, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith” (1 Timothy 5:8). It’s clear that Jesus believed children held the keys to the Kingdom of God: their innocence, their trusting, their simplicity were all traits Christ recognized in His teaching (Matthew 7:11 and 11:25). I believe God would approve of lemonade stands and how they help keep families together.

 

Father in Heaven, we praise You for providing guidance so families make good memories together. Amen

 

Good News! Meg Corrigan’s weekly blogs will soon be in a second daily devotional book, Saints With Slingshots TWO: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. The book is expected to be completed and on the market by December 2020! Watch for more information when the book is available!

BETTER…NOT NORMAL

Coronavirus Visits

Guest Writer: Donna Mathiowetz

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called for His purpose. Romans 8:28

 

When Covid – 19 hit it was as if a switch was turned off and almost everything changed overnight. Non-essential businesses were closed and students finished their current school year by way of “distance learning.” Many adults were now working from home. Restaurants were struggling to keep their establishments afloat by way of curbside service. The city playgrounds in many communities were surrounded by bright orange construction fencing. The implications go on and on.

 

For me, I was grieving for all those who are no longer receiving the personal support they need after the death of a loved one. There are no groups meeting as churches and all community gathering venues are closed. If you didn’t know what Zoom was before, almost everyone, including me, became very familiar with the newest way to gather. Some, but not all of the speaking engagements that were on my calendar after March 15 converted to Zoom meetings. Yes, I could see the faces and hear their voices, but it wasn’t the same for any of us. I missed the personal connections and the ability to hold their hand and give them a hug. Outside of our homes, the best we could do was to remain six feet apart, wearing a mask. Funerals were restricted to no more than ten people present, six feet apart. If their loved ones were residents of a care facility, the family wasn’t allowed to visit, except through a pane of glass. Many who had become ill enough to need hospitalization were also alone, with no visitors allowed in. The long-term implications of the collective repressed grief will be with us for years to come.

I am trying to follow my own advice for self-care. Taking long, brisk walks and riding my bike became my way of relieving the stress that I felt. I spent time each morning reading my devotions and Bible. I journaled and stayed in touch by phone with friends who were supportive and loving. This was a world-wide event, and I only sense what it has done to my little corner of this big blue planet. The fear was almost palpable as I encountered others at the grocery store and around town. The masks covered their nose and mouth, but not their eyes. The eyes often display fatigue, worry and anger, along with fear. People seemed hesitant to look at each other, much less speak a word of encouragement or hope. Kindness seems to be waning, replaced by judgment for some who choose not to wear a mask in public. However, through it all I remember my life verse.

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called for His purpose. Romans 8:28

I’d like to encourage you to think about those you know who have been on their own journey of grief during these challenging times. Isolation is always a factor when you’re suffering from a loss and the pandemic has magnified this even more. Even though we saw the term “services pending”, we know that grief doesn’t. So, please make it a point to reach out that someone you know who may really need a listening ear with the understanding that their grief has been delayed but it didn’t just dissipate.

 

So, like almost everyone else, we grieve what seems to have been lost in

all this and wonder what it will mean in the future.

Let’s not go back to normal, but to better.

 

Donna Mathiowetz is an inspirational speaker and author of “A Journal for Your Journey”. Her passion is to help others as they navigate the losses in life resulting from the death of a loved one, health issues, and loss of independence, broken dreams, and other life events.  She helps others to build their resiliency muscles, giving them the ability to bend but not break in the storms of life.  Donna shares her own story of loss, teaches from what she has learned and seeks to inspire others to do more than survive, but instead thrive and look for ways to help others along the way. Donna is a wife, mom and grandmother. She lives in Hastings MN Email: donna@UnfinishedByDesign.com

Website: www.UnfinishedByDesign.com

FB, IG, LinkedIn @ Unfinished by Design