For the past 5 weeks, I have been among those struggling to recover from COVID-19. I experienced early symptoms, thought I was better, and then was slammed by a “second round” that has ultimately developed into pneumonia.
Before this experience, I had not known illness personally. I had the occasional cold, but I did not know the fear of “shortness of breath.” I had never felt bronchial spasms. I never had to think about taking medication or consider how that medication impacted my body. I never had to slow down, to be silent because talking caused coughing, or to lay down because I simply could not stay standing.
I watch the news some nights, and I listen to reports about COVID. I watch the President hold rallies and supporters brazenly walking around without masks. Can I tell you – everything about that makes me angry? It’s radically irresponsible. It’s ignorant. It’s murderous. I don’t offer any of those descriptors lightly.
I also watch our beautiful western states burn. I watch Black lives and blue lives being taken unjustly. I watch fear-mongering and listen to our national leaders tell us brazen lies.
It’s all so…heartbreaking. The grief is deeply palpable for me – for all of us. At any other time, we would be grieving all of this terrible loss together. We would be united in supporting those who were hurting. We would be mourning the sacred souls who have died. We would be considering the plight of those who have lost their jobs and can’t feed their families. At any other time, we would have risen to the historic moment with integrity, unity, and care.
But this is not a normal moment. Because we are not rising, we are being denied the privilege of grieving TOGETHER. We are being denied the lessons of compassion we would learn TOGETHER. We are being denied the gift of neighbors crossing division and uniting TOGETHER.
In her book, “See No Stranger,” Valarie Kaur writes: “Grieving together, bearing the unbearable, is an act of transformation: It brings survivors into the healing process, creates new relationships, and energizes the demand for justice. We come to know people when we grieve with them through stories and rituals. It is how we build real solidarity, the kind that shows us the world we want to live in—and our role in fighting for it.”
Today, let us pray for the sick, the down-trodden, the vulnerable, and the grieving. Let us push past our fears, labels, and political parties to see the kindness of our humanity we are losing in our separation. I can’t think of any way to live more faithfully in the spirit of Jesus than to bear the unbearable together.
You all are in my prayers,
Rev. Cameron Trimble