We Won’t Know For a While

I was having an outdoor lunch with some friends today and a thought occurred to me – something I already know but had buried. I often talk about it in grief presentations. I have experienced it in relation to other life circumstances as well. Simply, we won’t know for a while what this has done to us.

There are some individuals who are extra self-aware who may not experience this, but I think most of us need some distance to gain perspective. In the year after my son died, I went through a thousand shifts in attitude, perspective, feelings, and attempts to cope. Even so, it wasn’t until about two years later that I felt myself emerging from the fog of grief. And then about six months later, I had the same sensation. It took a good bit of time for me to understand what had happened to me and what it meant.

I’m sure there is a good psychological term for that, but that’s not my training. I’m just observing that our grappling with a pandemic has been chaotic, uncertain, confusing, and sometimes frightening. So in the conversation today, as I listened to my friends talking about their COVID experiences, I realized that we are all still trying to quantify what this means for us. We can only do that to a point, because we won’t know for a while what this has cost us. What it has meant to our mental and physical health? How it has impacted our faith? What this has done to our children? How it has adjusted our view of the future? What it has done to our relationships with neighbors or even government?

We will be able to answer those questions eventually. Sometime in the future we will have enough distance and see enough evidence to piece it together. So, for today, just try to focus on what makes today worth being here. Faith, prayer, love, service, compassion, friendship, and purpose. Smile (even if behind a mask) and find some joy.

Maybe when we have achieved our distance from the pandemic we will be able to look back and think that we made the best of it, even on the hardest days.

Thanks for reading.