In case no one has reminded you lately:

One of the things I know I have been struggling with during this pandemic, is the fact that in the stretch of any given week (or any given day or even any given hour), I feel a bunch of different things that are contradictory.

Today is a gorgeous day in Toronto – the second day in a row that has been pure sunshine, warm temperatures and and that wonderful sense that Spring is finally here, and summer is just around the corner. There’s so much beauty in the natural world right now, that it’s kind of shocking. It’s a great time to get out for a walk, enjoy the leaves that are bursting open and the flowers that are blossoming.

Intellectually, I recognize all of that. Emotionally, I’m having one of those days when I just haven’t moved off the couch or accomplished anything.

You see, I can feel grateful for sunshine and warmth and beauty, and still struggle to participate in it. I can be thankful for all that I have – a safe home, a great dog for company, technology and entertainment, plenty of food, clean water, a comfortable bed – and still worried about all the unknowns that surround us right now.

That’s part of what it means to be human – we are complex and capable of feeling contradictory emotions at the same time.

And I wanted to write about that today because sometimes we get into this mindset that our emotions are black and white – we are either perfectly happy, or we have no happiness at all; we are either at perfect peace or drowning in unease; we are either fully optimistic or horribly pessimistic.

That’s neither true, nor helpful. Most of our lives are lived in a shade of grey – somewhere between the extremes. Ever been at a funeral and found yourself chuckling at the memories and stories of the deceased shared during a eulogy? I know have! Sometimes with tears streaming down my face, I have found myself laughing and remembering the joy of the person lost.

All of this to say – be gentle with yourself. Don’t set impossible emotional goals (i.e. “I must be happy or else I’m not living my faith and trusting God.”), but also don’t get so fixated on negative emotions that you think they are all you will ever feel. Trust your ability to feel many things at once, because is how God made you.

And on those days when you might find yourself unable to sort out all that you’re feeling, trust that sometimes it’s ok to not be ok. You are still strong, you are still beloved by God, and this, too, shall pass.

Until tomorrow, dear friends, know that God is with you, no matter how much you might be struggling with contradictory feelings.