Today’s Prayer: Death is Only a Horizon

By Bede Jarrett

We give them back to you, O Lord,
who first gave them to us;
and as you did not lose them in the giving,
so we do not lose them in the return.

Not as the world gives do you give,
O Lover of souls.

For what is yours is ours also,
if we belong to you.

Life is unending because love is undying,
and the boundaries of this life are but an horizon,
and an horizon is but the limit of our vision.

Lift us up, Strong Son of God,
that we may see further.

Strengthen our faith that we may see beyond the horizon.

And while you prepare a place for us,
as you have promised,
prepare us also for that happy place;
that where you are we may be also,
with those we have loved, forever.

Today’s Reflection: Naming It and Owning It

By Rev. Leo Almazán

What is going on? No, I mean it. What is happening?  OK, let me try again: Are you having a hard time? Have you cried lately –  more than usual, I mean?

This new reality, this new normal, has caught all of us by surprise. We have not had a chance to adjust, to process, to even properly react.

Now, we must stay locked up, isolated from our families and friends. So much has changed in such a little time and yet, so much is till up in the air. And what makes it even worse is that we are not even sure when this all will be over. Will it ever be over?

It surely feels like not right now.

According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, what you and I are experiencing, is grief. Yes. Grief. And not only one, but two types of grief. Let me explain.

On the one hand, we are experiencing collective grief. Have you had any of the following thoughts: “The world has changed.” “While this is temporary, it doesn’t feel that way.” “We have lost all sense of normalcy.”

On the other hand, we are experiencing anticipatory grief, which is closely related to the former and driven by anxiety and stress. Questions such as “Will things ever go back to normal? Will the economy ever recover? Are we ever going to see each other or to get together again?” give way to more fear, more uncertainty, and make us believe that our future will be darker than what it may truly be.

To make matters worse, we need to keep in mind that both kinds of grief are being experienced at the micro (individual) and the macro (collective) levels simultaneously. What can we do?

Generally speaking, we need to understand, and accept that we are going through non-linear stages of grief, namely,

  • Denial: “This virus won’t affect me/us.”
  • Anger: “They’re making me stay home and taking away my activities.” “They cannot tell me what to do!”
  • Bargaining: “Fine! If I social distance for two weeks everything will be OK, right?”
  • Sadness: “I don’t know if/when/how this will end.”
  • Acceptance: “This is happening; I have to figure out how to proceed.”

Acceptance is where the power lies because we find control in acceptance.

  • I can wash my hands.
  • I can keep a safe distance.
  • I can learn how to work virtually.

Acceptance also signals the moment in which each individual commits to do any and all of the following things to stay strong, safe, and healthy.

  • I will not deny it; instead, I will find balance in the things I am thinking: “I will move away from the future and back into the present.”
  • I will breathe deeply and slowly and find a mantra (“peace” or “love”) to calm me down: I will repeat this exercise as often as needed to keep myself grounded.
  • I will pray. I will talk to God about my anger, my sadness, my fears and I will entrust into his loving and caring hands everything I cannot control. I will trust that, with God’s help, this is survivable, that we will survive.
  • I will meditate on the wonders of today and I will stay mindfully in the present. I will declare, “In this moment, we are okay. We have food. We are not sick. We are washing our hands. We are staying inside.”
  • I will be compassionate and patient, understanding that fear and anxiety change the way I and all those around me react. During the most difficult moments, I will repeat to myself, “That is not like her/him; that is just how s/he is dealing with this. I am seeing/dealing with her/his fear and anxiety.” 
  • I will keep trying, again and again and for as long as it takes, to deal with this crisis in a healthy way. I will not fight my feelings, label or judge them. Instead, I will own them and allow them to empower my response.
  • Over all, I will let myself feel the grief and I will keep going.

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