Earlier this week, I had the privilege to take part in a webinar on, Uncertainty, hosted by Edvance with special guest Dr. Curt Thompson. As a leading Christan psychiatrist with expertise in interpersonal neurobiology, Curt offered us a unique perspective on how we are dealing with COVID-19 both mentally and spiritually. While they were a number of insightful comments that he made, I would like to highlight a few of them that I hope will be an encouragement to you and your family.
One of the primary things that COVID-19 has removed is predictability. In a school context, it has affected the way we start and end our day, the way we greet each other daily and the way we interact with our peers. We are left with an inability to do anything about our predictive future or past. While planning for the future aligns our thoughts with intended actions, we have been left with uncertainty and cannot formulate a plan due to constant changes around the virus, timelines, and more. In its absence, we use substitutes such as worry, anxiety, and other unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Also connected to this is a visceral desire to produce, which ties in with the value that we attribute to it. We often attach our identity to produce or perform to the standards or measures required, which increases our sense of anxiety to do so. When this happens, we feel as if we fall short, and a sense of shame creeps in. Furthermore, isolation is a breeding ground for shame, which has been exacerbated during COVID-19 by depleting our ability to stay connected.
While this may sound bleak, Curt offered us an anecdote to encourage us. He drew parallels to the story of the Jewish exiles who went to Babylon and faced uncertainty about their future. While some prophets in Israel were predicting a quick fix, Jeremiah cautioned that this would be a longer process, but he encouraged them to still go on living their lives by building houses, planting their gardens, and doing good wherever they found themselves, and in so doing, God would bless them and provide for their wellbeing (Jeremiah 29:4-7). We are thus to, “create outposts of goodness and beauty” where God has placed us.
Curt also reminded us that whether we produce or not, God is still with us and loves us. Regardless of what may come, we have God’s unfailing love. This is a good reminder that no matter how much school work our children are able to get done during this pandemic, it does not change who they are or how much they are loved.
He also encouraged us to love each other and make sure that we find ways to connect. As an extension of this, he suggested that we share something daily that we are thankful for, along with a lament. This will help us to emerge from this pandemic as people who love and care for each other more deeply. This connects with our theme at Trinity to “Shine Jesus’ Light”, which helps us to put this into practice in our community. My prayer for Trinity is that we come out of this pandemic knowing that we are loved, that our value is in Christ, not our works, and that we care for each other more deeply than ever before.
Click here for my short video update for this week.
J-D Lussier, Principal