July 02, 2020
I realized the other day that in non-COVID times my family would have been preparing for Julian’s baby dedication since he is now four months old. We would have been having our parents and my sisters fly to Denver, our local family would be preparing the family potluck after worship, and our friends would be creating their blessings to share with Julian at said potluck. Ian, Julian, and I would be meeting with Anne to discuss the flow of the dedication in our worship service and I would be nerding out as pastor and mom over the liturgy to be used. On that Sunday morning Ian and I would have put Julian in ridiculously cute outfit that included suspenders and bowtie (because who doesn’t love a baby in those), and we would humbly join you all in celebrating the fact we will actively raise Julian in the ways and teachings of Jesus - constantly helping him choose justice, peace, and mercy throughout his growing years. It is strange for me to be realizing this and knowing that I do not know when such an experience in Julian’s faith journey will take place. Thankfully Ian and I know that while this is an important marking in his faith journey it does not keep us from sharing the gospel with him throughout our days and anchoring his bedtime routine in stories that talk about theology and Scripture (and have really neat pictures - because that’s what he cares about right now), and praying with him before bed. We are bringing him up in our faith tradition and will allow him to choose his faith expression when he is old enough. And, we grieve that he will not have a baby dedication when we originally anticipated him to have one.
I share this because you too may be experiencing similar griefs around birthdays, anniversaries, cancelled trips, rites of passage, etc. And I want you to know that it is perfectly normal to want to grieve these losses or missed opportunities. You can be thankful things are not worse in your situation AND you can hold on to your disappointment, sorrow, and maybe even situational depression in tandem. Sometimes we can feel as though we are complaining about things in our lives and so we then dismiss our feelings because we don’t want to sound ungrateful or as though we think we have it the hardest. Yet when we dismiss our feelings we don’t give them a chance to reveal how we are doing, or give them space to teach us how to move through or alongside those feelings. I want you to now that it is more than okay to be thankful you have a job, grateful you do not know anyone actively with COVID - to not have COVID yourself, and to express gratitude for things not being worse in your situation. You can be thankful and appreciative for all of those truths and you can struggle with the pieces of life that are not happening right now due to COVID safety measures.
If you might share a similar experience to the one Ian, Julian, and I (and our loved ones) are going through I hope you can find some support in knowing you are not alone, that this is hard, it’s okay to grieve both big and small things, and that you can be thankful and disappointed at the same time. Take heart that this season won’t forever, we will get through it together, and we will find beautiful ways to celebrate the things we didn’t get to when we can gather once again. So in the meantime, stay safe, wear your mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands.