I heard from one of you about an article in the New York Times about “languishing” as a good word for what many of us are feeling as we try to emerge from this pandemic. Once you mentioned it, it seemed like everywhere I turned, people were talking about the article!
Written by Adam Grant, it first appeared on April 19, 2021. If we think about mental health on a spectrum from depression to flourishing, this is somewhere in between those 2 poles. “Languishing,” writes Grant, “is the neglected middle child of mental health.”
“It’s the void between depression and flourishing — the absence of well-being. You don’t have symptoms of mental illness, but you’re not the picture of mental health either. You’re not functioning at full capacity. Languishing dulls your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus…”
Grant’s words seems to have hit a nerve as we try to come back from this strangest of years.
As I attend classes and webinars on church re-opening (offered by both the UCC and UUA), and what worship and RE might look like “post pandemic,” I hear many experts speak of the trauma we have undergone as a nation and individuals and what the after effects of trauma might look like. It will be different for each one of us. They advise us to go slowly as we make decisions, and to try to make sure that all ages and abilities are at the “decision making table.” I’ll be speaking with staff, deacons, Parish Committee about all these things as we try to fashion a “reopening task force” and begin to think about what comes next.
But luckily, whether we are “languishing” or not, we don’t have to do this (whatever “this” is) alone.
Being part of a community where you are known and where you know others — it isn’t a magical cure-all or “quick fix,” but surely this sense of belonging can help.
In this spring time, this Eastertide season, let us continue to rely on one another as well as draw on our own internal wells of spiritual strength, compassion and resilience. What new life, new hope, new possibility awaits us, just around the turn of the road?