Be graceful with yourself in uncertain times

Holy Everything — Emily Carson column sig
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Confused, angry, afraid and uncertain. These are normal feelings to experience during a pandemic. If you’re feeling any of these, be graceful with yourself. You’re doing the best you can do with the tools and information you have at this time; your neighbors and community are, too.

Intentional physical distancing is a pivotal component of keeping one another safe. It’s imperative that we each do everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19. Loving our neighbor as we love ourselves can take many shapes and forms. Right now, love looks like taking responsibility for our bodies and germs by keeping physical distance from others as much as possible.

We are not exempt from the science of how this virus spreads. Taking to heart medical research and public health guidance is good stewardship of the wisdom in our midst. Thank you for being good stewards. As we journey forward, please keep in mind:

It is entirely possible to be generous in a pandemic. Let’s practice.One way you and your household can practice generosity in this time is by financially supporting the ministry of your local congregation. Ministry is continuing through your congregation in spite of the challenges posed by COVID-19. Your church leaders are acting in faithful, innovative ways every day as they discern how best to support the needs of the community and the wider world. Your financial gifts make possible that good work. Explore online giving. Mail a check. Set up checks to be mailed automatically right from your personal bank account. The amazing work of local nonprofits and small businesses also continues. You are already a generous person; be on the lookout for ways to practice your spirit of giving.

Make spiritual practice a priority.Many faith communities are providing alternative ways to worship through written devotions and online gatherings. These are great options. Other spiritual practices: prayer, meditation, creating, cooking, reading sacred texts, and taking time for silence. Stay rooted in your connectedness to God, neighbor and your own spirit through spiritual practice.


Your primary identity is not consumer; it’s beloved child of God.It’s tempting to attempt to spend our way through this collective anxiety and uncertainty. Please resist that inclination, and take the steps you can to ensure resources are accessible to all people, especially the most vulnerable among us.

Identify a mantra and repeat it often.A mantra is a repeated word, sound or phrase that brings clarity. Many of us are being forced to acknowledge, for the first time in our adult lives, that control is an illusion. We long for peace in our hearts and peace in the world. Find a mantra that is helpful to you. Maybe it’s a particular word or verse from a sacred text. My mantra is: "I release fear," and I’ve been repeating it many times a day every single day.

Let’s pray together every day for those most impacted by COVID-19.I’m going to pray this prayer every day at 6:30 a.m. Please join me. "God who hears: Grant us all of the guidance, compassion and resilience we need for today. Guide and protect those in the medical profession, those experiencing homelessness, the medically vulnerable, the fearful, and all who are in positions of leadership. Deepen our compassion. Remind us of our interconnectedness with all creation. Amen."

Grace and peace to you today and every day. You are beloved, and you are never alone. As the author of Psalm 46 proclaimed long ago, let us remember together: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble … God is with us."

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