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Mary's Musings: In the space in between, be present and pray for others

By Mary Bridges, chaplain

Does anyone remember playing “freeze tag” when you were a child? The person who is "it" chases the other kids to try to tag them. When a player is tagged, they must remain frozen in the same position they were in when tagged. They can only move if another player tags them again. The game continues until all runners have been frozen, and then a new person becomes “it.”

In a recent blog post for the Center for Loss & Life Transition, Alan Wolfelt uses the analogy of freeze tag as one way to think of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve been told to freeze, and many weeks later, we’re still frozen in place.

Limina is the Latin word for ‘threshold’: the space betwixt and between,” Wolfelt writes. “Significant loss creates this threshold. It forces us through a passageway we don’t want to go through. When we’re in the passageway, it’s dark and we can’t see what life will be like on the other side. Our daily routines and core beliefs have been shaken.”

Wolfelt connects the way many of us are feeling to grief. His recommendation is to “relinquish the illusion that we’re in control of our lives” and learn to be present.

It is also important for each of us to remember that although this pandemic is worldwide, everyone is having a slightly different experience. An analogy I read on Facebook says it best:

“There is one thing I know. During the past few months, we were all in the same boat, but we were not all in the same storm. For some it was a sprinkling. It was a break. It was a breather. It was a pause in the ‘normal,’ it was time to reconnect with family and slow down. And honestly, it was kind of peaceful. For some it was a storm. It was a bit scary. It was disruptive. It was enough to make you stay up and watch the news and worry. For some it was a hurricane. It tore at the boards and pulled off the roof. And it is washed them out to sea. It is dark and unknown. For them it was life changing.

“It wasn’t wrong to be enjoying the sprinkles or enduring the storm. But please don’t negate the difference. Rest with family, but don’t minimize the hurricane engulfing your neighbor. Laugh, but (also) get on your knees for your friends. Get in someone else’s storm.”

Take time to listen to family and friends as they recount how this pandemic is affecting their lives. Pray for them and for their healing. Today, here at the Presbyterian Manor, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the squirrels are playing tag. Even though our “normal” is still frozen, I am going to take a gratitude walk after work today and give thanks for the many blessings in my life while praying for all those still struggling.

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