One year ago today I wrote the first “Strength and Peace Blog.” At that point I thought I was going to be blogging for a few weeks or a month to keep up the spirits of the faithful people of Graceview Presbyterian. I never for a second thought I’d still be at it a year later. None of us thought that at the beginning.
None of us could have imagined that a year later we’d still be keeping our distance and – in Toronto’s case, anyway – living in lockdown. So I just want to share a couple of things that I have found meaningful as I’ve reflected on this pandemic year.
First of all, Nadia Bolz-Weber has been writing prayers every Sunday and you can sign up here to receive them by email. Her turn of phrase is always fresh and meaningful. I often feel like she’s saying what I was feeling. This past Sunday’s prayer was especially meaningful to me:
Dear God who made us all,
A year ago we did not know that we were about to learn:
what we could lose and somehow live anyway
where we would find comfort and where it would elude us
whose lives matter to whom
why we have kitchens in our homes.
In mid-March 2020 all I knew for sure is that
hoarding toilet paper doesn’t make you safe – it just makes you selfish.
But God, it feels like the world is about to open back up.
And I’m both thrilled and kind of scared about that.
Because I’m not who I was a year ago.
I want so badly
to hug my friends again
and laugh like hell again
and have amazing conversations again
and yet I am not sure how long I could do any of this before crying or just getting really quiet. My emotional protective gear has worn so thin, and grief just leaks out everywhere now.
I am so afraid that I will never be who I once was. And I am also afraid that I will be.
(Not to mention, I’m not entirely clear what size jeans I wear as the me I am now)
And yet, when I quiet my anxious thoughts, I start to suspect that I am now closer to the me you have always known and always loved. So help me trust that, Lord.
As things change, help us be gentle with ourselves and with each other. We are all wearing newborn skin right now.
Amen.-Nadia Bolz-Weber, Sunday Prayers for March 14, 2021
And second, this old song from Rich Mullins which popped into my head today out of nowhere and seems quite apropos. This is “Hold Me, Jesus”:
Dear friends, until tomorrow – may He be your Prince of Peace.