On exhausted brains, the Delta variant, and learning to cope during this season

“We are apparently not good decision makers,” she told me. This in reference to trying to find a suitable last-minute solution for her children’s school situation because the counties around us are refusing at least at this point to consider mask mandates for returning to school. Her words struck me and I immediately responded, “It’s not that you’re not good decision makers. You’ve endured 17 months of a global pandemic with small children you're trying to keep safe, and you’re being asked to do the impossible school-wise in a very short window of time, or be faced with giving up a job you love that’s finally offered full-time. There are no great decisions here.” 

And the next thing that struck me about this exchange is that I started the original version of this newsletter with an apology for having been inconsistent these past few months. It’s so easy for me to see how living in these times is wearing on others. The weight, the uncertainty, the frustration and disappointment with our neighbors who don’t seem to care about the good of anyone else. But I am living through a global pandemic too with young children and there are no great decisions, only long days that I can already see blurring into one another again if I’m not careful as I need to be more careful with my immuno-suppressed self.  

I feel incredibly heavy today as I write this, and I’m sure many of you do as well. What we’d hoped just scant weeks ago was the end of the pandemic has vanished, lost in a cloud of the delta variant.

I came home sick from a trip to visit family in North Carolina and a good friend kicked my butt to make me go get a Covid test, which fortunately was negative, but it reared the specter of the last year and the concerned that even though I’m fully vaccinated, what if my wonky immune system isn’t fully protected. 

And then I learned some very heavy news about a friend recently that’s still sitting with me. Sitting on me really, like a weight in the core of my chest, something that’s really hard to process. I’m not being vague to be mysterious; it’s just the details aren’t mine to share. It got me thinking about the weight of grief and even trauma that many of us are carrying due to life circumstances and living through this covid era. Another friend said about going back into lockdown that it’s like knowing you’re about to be hit, knowing what it feels like, and still not being able to stop it. 

What does it do to us when circumstances activate our flight or fight or freeze responses and yet none of those options is really available to us?

I am coping by calling friends. I’ve been interacting with social media less. Not that social media is bad, but it’s limited. It’s great for keeping us caught up on various details of each other's lives but it can’t duplicate the heart connection of talking to our friends. So I set up calls or call people randomly when I’m thinking of them (yes, I did have to preface those first calls with, “nothing’s wrong, I was thinking of you” since we’ve gotten so used to texting before we call). The connections have been really wonderful, like cold water on a hot day, or a warm blanket on a cold one. 

What about you? What’s lifting your heart during this season?  

1st Anniversary!

As strange as it seems because it feels like I “just” started this newsletter, tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the launch of Coffee, Shalom, and Everything in Between. Thanks to all of you who have joined in the journey along the way. I look forward to the conversations this next year will bring.


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