High River United Church of High River, Alberta

Pandemics are Teary!

I know that most of us don’t like to talk about or, in some cases, even acknowledge our emotions.  In our North American context, emotions are often considered an annoyance we would rather not have.  In Canada, we even apologize for our tears… “I’m sorry…” as we try to stifle them and resist their obvious presence.  Our relationship with tears seems rather complicated or even stuck.  And yet, tears are part of nature’s design for us humans.  We have them.  We cry. The question is whether we can simply be OK with that.


Of course, we need to be gentle with our tears.  We need to feel safe before we can cry.  Some of us might have our tears in the middle of the night away from others.  Some of us might be OK to cry in the safe presence of another.  And still, we might have our tears unexpectedly because the situation we face evokes them—happy or sad.  Tears can be a surprise.  Suddenly they surface and we find ourselves weeping because we are touched or we are pitched into tragedy and loss and moved by the emotions we have surrounding the let-down we experience due to disaster, a failed exam, the death of a loved one, a move, a separation, a graduation, a child leaving home, or even the arrival of a baby, not to mention a pandemic.


Pandemics are teary, too.  That’s what I’m learning. While we might feel like we’re holding up OK as we pivot from one set of restrictions to the next, or suffer the loneliness of not seeing our loved ones, or feel the frustration of not being able to do what we normally do, we are suffering much loss.  In fact, we would do well to anticipate even more grief as we slowly emerge from this pandemic.  As our alarm comes down and its subsequent anxiety begins to temper, I fully expect we will be surprised by the grief we begin to feel as we slowly recognize that our post-pandemic life will not be like our “normal” lives before the pandemic.  That cherished reality is gone.  And while we might gradually approximate those days, life will not ever really be the same.  And so, we grieve.  We create room for those tears that come from the losses we have collected over this pandemic. 


Yes, we are collecting losses.  They are like precious stones that function as remnants of a life we once knew.  We carry them with us for a time.  We cherish them and allow them to be part of us as we gradually emerge into the new life that lays before us.  When we gather with friends after such along time of being apart, we might weep in each other’s presence because we grieve the separation we have faced and feel the love we have for each other. 


We weep for all that was and cannot be.  We weep for the lives lost along with their families and loved ones left behind.  We weep for our young ones whose youthful emergence has been stymied by the lack of an embodied learning community and togetherness.  We weep for our elderly and vulnerable ones at home alone with the radio and TV and maybe a pet.  We weep for exhausted front-line service workers such as those who make sure our Amazon packages arrive.  We weep for health-care providers who are too acquainted with long hours spent alongside illness and death.  We weep over our own fatigue, frustration and fear.  We weep.


Pandemics are teary.  They just are.  And it’s OK.  In the face of grief over Lazarus’ death, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) I take comfort in the fact that Jesus’ tears were not stuck. Jesus did not preface his tears with “I’m sorry”.  He felt his emotions.  He allowed room to be moved by them.  And, by his example, we too are free to cry and be teary over the losses and lacks we are experiencing through these pandemic times.  It is after all, Nature’s design for us.  These tears are the very ones that will help us continue to pivot and adapt as we emerge and begin to live into post-pandemic times.  These will be teary times of both loss and… joy.

Rev. David 


This is the last in our Pandemics Are.... series.  Thank you for joining us in reflecting on pandemics from a faithful point of view.







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123 MacLeod Trail S.W. High River, Alberta.

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