This time of social, political, financial, and health upheaval is having a profound effect on all of us. We have all had to make adjustments in the activities we are accustomed to in our daily lives. Some of us may have found ourselves suddenly unemployed and facing financial concerns. Others are now working from home in less than ideal circumstances: hoping the internet does not go down, trying to be productive, coping with children engaged in homeschooling, pets frolicking nearby, the omnipresent Amazon delivery, not to mention the daily news offering gloom and doom.
In the past, such stresses were alleviated by visits with family or friends. Perhaps we went out to dinner, shopping, or even a movie. Now, however, it is difficult to visit and practice social distancing to protect ourselves and those most vulnerable. Some places have re-opened with guidelines, but honestly, even if we are thankful, we know it’s not the same. And really, how safe do we feel not knowing who has prepared our meal, or how thoroughly cleaned and disinfected our table is?
Even our beloved churches are closed for Sunday worship. Yes, we have online services, and everyone has done an amazing job bringing us such inspirational messages and beautiful music. For those of us who participate in the liturgy as Eucharistic ministers, lectors, choir members, etc. it has been a loss as well in not being able to give to others. As your parish nurse, I have been disappointed in not being able to interact in person with members of the parish. For most of us, the loss of the camaraderie, the smiles, the hellos, and the hugs from friends who were happy to see us is especially profound. There was, in a nutshell, a sense of belonging, a sense of family and now we miss our church family.
We may ask ourselves how we can find comfort in these trying times; how we can comfort others who are also struggling. I suggest we reach out to our neighbors who, like all of us, are feeling overwhelmed at all the factors affecting every one of us, and may have taken that first step in reaching out to you, or to a new group of friends. We all know how intimidating that first step can be. Regard this as a gift; your opportunity to embrace that mandate to “welcome the stranger.” “For it is in giving that we receive; in loving that we are loved; and in comforting that we, in turn, are comforted.”
If you need to reach me for nursing or health advice please give me a call at 704-608-9121.
Jo Anne Blackstone, Parish Nurse