The Four Emotions of a Pandemic.

Let me start by saying this is not a formula nor is it a progression. It is an observation. We are all experiencing this pandemic, but in different ways and at different times. I don’t know that something like this has ever happened in our history. With a global economy and the internet this pandemic is felt from one side of the world to the other.

What will today hold?

            I have noticed that we cycle through four emotions as we process this pandemic. We cycle through one of four emotions: grief, anxiety, anger or acceptance. You will not encounter any of these emotions on the same day as your spouse, children, or whomever you are on lockdown with. We are all cycling through these emotions on different days at different times.

1. Grief

             We mourn the life we had before this happened. We grieve for what is to come and what will the future hold? How different will it be? What will our new normal look like? All the things that didn’t happen: trips we had planned, sports our kids should’ve played, ending the school year at home instead of at school, weddings, graduations, etc., the list is endless.

There is also the grief of loss for those that are losing people to this virus. Many of us are watching those we love risk their lives on a daily basis to provide and care for others.

Allow yourself to mourn this my friends. There is grief in dreams unfilled and plans that never happen. There is also the heartbreak of loss and people you love taken in ways you never could’ve imagined. It is heartbreaking and we should be heartbroken. 

2. Anxiety

           When will this end? Will I get the virus? What will today hold? I am scared for tomorrow? Things seem to be spiraling out of control and at a rapid pace. Our world seems to be unraveling one moment at a time. Many of my friends who have never struggled with anxiety feel its’ grip. The fears of financial ruin, loss of jobs, the threat of the virus, the possibilities seem to be endless. We have lost the comfort of predictability. All sense of control has vanished in an instant. A rhythm we relied on has been pulled right out from under us. What I do know is living in the present instead of the future can curb our anxiety. The more I fix my focus on the now instead of what could be the less my fears seem to take control. One moment at a time. One hour at a time. One day at a time. 

3. Anger

             Why is this happening? How did this happen? I’m tired of every day seeming the same. I don’t want to cook another meal. I don’t want to clean the kitchen for the millionth time. I’d like to get dressed and actually go somewhere. I want to go on a date with my spouse. I want my children to have time with their friends. I want to spend time with my parents. This isn’t fair. We have a right to be angry my friends, but we all know staying angry never leads to anything good. In fact if we don’t bring our anger to God in prayer or release our anger in exercise, our anger can quickly turn to depression.

4. Acceptance.

            There are those rare days (and maybe hours), that we believe we can handle it. We can cook another meal. We can clean the kitchen again. We can take that walk down the same path. We tell ourselves this too will pass. We are spending more time with family than ever before. We are exercising on a regular basis. We have hope that things will get better.

When we have these good days let’s remember what made this day good. Did we watch less TV? Did we engage in less social media? Did we exercise more? Did we talk to a friend? Did we spend more time in the fresh air? Did our day start with a prayer and a quiet time? Did we spend time in God’s Word?

As time progresses and our new normal begins to unfold let’s remember we’re all in this together. We are all navigating a new normal one moment at a time. Let’s show ourselves and our neighbors, kindness, grace, love and most importantly Jesus.

Your fellow warrior,