Anxiety and Mercy

Tony Craghead, Professional Psychologist &
Vestry Liaison for St. Peter’s Pastoral Care Team

This new normal doesn’t feel so normal. There is nothing that feels normal about not being able to go out for work, to visit friends and family, or enjoy a night on the town at a sporting event or concert. Sometimes, I find myself being a little bit anxious. Sometimes I’m more than just a little bit anxious. Like most people, I’m anxious for life to return to normal. Unfortunately, I don’t know when that will be. No one really does. What I am pretty sure of is that we now find ourselves in a new way of living, and this new way looks and feels different than what we have known previously. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Maybe it will be an opportunity for us to continue to slow pace that many of us have come to adopt, while we shelter in place. Maybe we will stop glorifying “busyness,” and allow ourselves the opportunity to just pause.

Perhaps as we experience the world changing around us, and we long to return to our normal and comfortable ways of living, what might be helpful is that we begin the process of acknowledging that some things are likely to be forever changed going forward. Change in and of itself is neither good nor bad, it’s just different. There is benefit in accepting that some things in our lives have changed. When we are able to accept change, we become much more resilient, and better able to adapt to what life has presented to us.

While we all likely feel some level of fear and anxiousness as we navigate our way through what this pandemic means for us and for our families, we don’t navigate this alone. As I streamed the Easter Vigil, I listened to Mother Amanda read Psalm 136, and I was reminded of this. The psalm recounts God’s miracles in creating the world and of his presence with the Israelites during the Exodus. Each verse of the psalm concludes with the words “his mercy endures forever.” Those words are repeated so frequently in the psalm, that they could easily become a throwaway statement that is overlooked, as we focus on the history lesson being shared in the psalm. Perhaps these words of God’s mercy being ever present, is actually the main point of the psalm, instead of just a refrain which punctuates each verse. Perhaps this recounting of God’s mercy might also be a reminder to us to be kind, and to show a bit of mercy to ourselves as we begin to figure out what our new lives might look like.

Blessings,

Tony Craghead, Vestry Liaison for St. Peter’s Pastoral Care Team