I’m writing this in the days leading up to Easter; it has been a long year and a long winter, and little by little, we inch forward, one vaccine at a time, looking hopefully towards a future we can’t fully imagine yet but know is coming. In listening to some of you over the past weeks, I hear you reflecting on things you want to take forward with you from this “pandemic time,” as well as things you long to put down. Stress, anxiety, fear, and grief being among the things you are more than ready to release; time with family, reflective time, time in nature, a chance to think more deeply, life a little—or a lot—“slowed down” being some of the things you may want to try to preserve.
We are cautiously optimistic even as there is still so much we can not yet know. And so we continue to keep one another company in this pilgrim journey. I continue to give thanks to be in your company during this Covid year. I’ve seen you rise to the challenge again and again as a community, during unusual times, and that’s been good to witness.
I was listening to a conversation this week between Krista Tippett, host of “On Being” and Dr. Christine Runyan, clinical psychologist at UMass Medical Center. Dr. Runyan started TendHealth, a clinical consulting practice focused on the mental well-being of health care practitioners. They were discussing how even now, when there is a light at the end of the tunnel, it is common for people to feel exhausted, irritable, moody, depressed and anxious. That’s because our nervous systems have been under such “fight or flight” stress and strain for a year, Dr. Runyan explained. That doesn’t get resolved in a flash; it takes time. So we’ll need to continue to care for one another and for ourselves in gentle, daily and ongoing ways as we all try to heal, and help the wider community and world to heal as well.