“…The water’s cold and I just wanted to finish washing my hair!…” [sob… sob… ugly snot cry… sob!]”
That was me this morning as my long-suffering hubby came running down the hallway to find out what catastrophic event had caused me to melt down to the point of loud, wailing sobbing.
I want to say it was a random moment of weakness, but that wouldn’t be true. The actual reality is that a sob-filled melt-down has been very, very close to erupting for pretty much any reason over the past 3 days.
All it took to begin this weird emotional roller coaster was a casual conversation on Sunday morning indicating harsher restrictions were about to be imposed across Victoria. Moments later as I posted a memory of my dear Dad passing away 5 years ago on social media the tears began to flow, and I can’t say I’ve categorically stopped them ever since. That’s not to say they’re constantly streaming down my face, but rather that they’re hovering there… sitting in the rims of my eyes waiting for an opportunity to launch, with no regard for my decorum or respectability.
Today they surfaced during my cold-too-soon shower in the form of a child-like tantrum… then an hour or so later during a Zoom meeting where my colleagues and I were meant to be sharing how we’re persevering in this new season. All I could sputter out was, “I’m not there yet…” then… tears.
The tears have surfaced for real again another 5 times today since then. And at least that many times yesterday. And the day before.
They’re making an appearance right now as I type.
It’s not depression. I know that feeling and this is not it.
This is more like grief…
Which would make sense given the initial trigger for me was memories of Dad.
Those who live outside Victoria are rightly keeping an eye on us with concern and a little horror. The looming question across the continent being asked silently is, ‘Can they actually do this? Or have they passed the point of no return?’
Just so you know, we’re asking the same question. But we’re doing it in the midst of a flurry of emotions and opinions that clash and collide at sub-atomic speed, 24 hours a day.
We’re in a sea of extremes.
We’re tired but our sleep is disrupted.
We love our kids but we feel our tolerance wick getting shorter and shorter.
We’re loving learning new recipes, while feeling resentful that we can’t just sit down for a muffin at the local café.
We feel a screen overload, while simultaneously clinging to our devices because they’re a link to the outside world.
We’re stuck between feeling happy to comply because we want this to work, and trying to control anger at donning a mask that fogs up our glasses for a meagre 1-hour daily escape.
This lockdown is not like the first… two.
There was a sense of the ‘togetherness’ the first time round as we all wondered and mused at which government was handling it best. Now we know more than we did before. The initial ‘hold your breath for 6 weeks’ has given way to an internal exasperation that this has now been a collective 6 months, with a few weeks of peeking our heads out the hole in the middle. Gone are the chalked footpaths and teddy bears in the windows. Gone are the cheerful smiles as we walked through the neighbourhood, keeping our distance politely. Now we can’t see the smiles behind masks, and honestly, we’re not smiling anymore anyway.
Is there something to look forward to?
The first time round we looked forward to the end.
This time we don’t know if there is one.
Our worry exists not only for our health, but for what our kids are missing out on. Already half the year has been lost. School continues but are they learning anything? We doubt it. They need relational input from someone other than us and they’re not getting it. We’re worried about job losses and the economy. We’re worried about mental health. We’re missing family and friends. We’re wondering if we will ever hug some loved ones again. We’re seeing so many people we know well living their lives again, somewhere out there where we can’t be, and we feel like the proverbial dog poo on the shoe of Australasia.
So, yeah. We know it’s worse around the world. You don’t need to remind us, we get it.
And for the moment – I’m not there yet.
And here’s the thing: I am daily sowing into my soul – really good stuff actually. Stuff that in most seasons would fill me with hope and expectation and passion and vigor. And I’m sowing it in there hard. I’m sowing with gusto. I’m listening, seeking, resting, pursuing, learning.
And… for the moment, I’m not there yet.
I have tonnes to be grateful for.
And I’m not there yet.
I’m a great believer in perseverance.
And I’m not there yet.
I know positivity will come, but I’m not there yet.
And that’s okay. Because anyone who knows anything about grief will tell you not to rush it – to walk alongside it and let it do what it does – that time will help, that things will change, and that you can get through it if you just keep going.
And that’s okay.
So for the moment, I might just have me some quiet, teary moments and some loud, sobby, snot-filled ugly-cry moments. And I’ll thank my hubby that when I need an encompassing cuddle there’s a special nook in his shoulder that he’s dedicated to me.
If you’re not there yet – you are not alone.
Allow the moment to do what it does.
Keep sowing into your soul. And soon you will reap that harvest you sowed, and collectively we will pop our heads out of the hole again…
And there will be sunlight.
– Heather Packett, Teaching Pastor