A Benediction in the Time of COVID-19

May you give yourself abundant, excessive, and extravagant grace on the hard days. May you be gentle with yourself and always remember that we are all learning, figuring this out together and it is hard. May you extend that same grace to your loved ones and remember that no one knows what they are doing, so we’re all just muddling through together.

On the good days, may you learn to pay attention and say, “this is a good moment.” May you believe that you are the cause of the good moments in the same way you often blame yourself for the bad. May you grab those moments of joy, peace, and goodness and give thanks.

May you be so filled with compassion for your neighbor that you would put their needs first, even before your own. May you lean into mental and physical discomfort. When you have the choice of being kind or being aggressively right, may you always take a deep breath and choose kindness. May you give of yourself, your time and your possessions in a way that acts like the humanity you want to see. May you remember that though we are all waves, we are also the ocean*, and we should act like it.

May you have one friend to whom you can say the worst day, ugliest things and may you be that person for someone else. May you know that they don’t actually hate their kids or their spouse or their dog, but right now it feels like it and they just need someone to say “I see you. I feel your pain.” May you show up for your people in new ways, find creative ways to stay connected, and believe that if a friend isn’t acting like a good friend right now, it’s not you, it’s COVID and you should try again.

If you are staying at home alone, may you find moments of true, soul-deep community so you feel less lonely. And if you are staying at home with others, may you find pockets of stillness and solitude, so you don’t feel overwhelmed. If you are at home with your spouse, may they chew silently or go to another room, please sir or madam. If you are at home with your children, may they never utter the words “I’m bored” or “can we make slime?”

If your home feels turbulent or is a place of pain and chaos, may you know that you are worthy of better. If you are worried for someone in this situation, may you know exactly the words to say and actions to take to help them find safety and peace.

May you remember that social media never, ever shows the entire picture. Not once. May you never compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel. May you think and research and source check before you post, for the love. May you resist the urge to snark and instead remember that the people on the other side of the screen are doing their best too, even if their best isn’t that great.

May you embrace the messy middle. It turns out that living through history is pretty awful; may you do it well anyway. May you find peace with the reality of your situation even as you long for some normalcy back. May you catch yourself when you’re catastrophizing or numbing out and bring it back to center. May you live in the now**, and not look too far ahead.


May you be surprised by the goodness of this time. When the world around you screams about how hard and how awful it all is, may you find moments of true beauty and hold them close.

May you be proud of who you are in this time, and may you be the person on purpose. When you don’t know what to do, may you choose kindness, choose grace, choose compassion, choose goodness.

Grace and peace to you, now and in the days to come,
Jen

*from the Author’s Note at the end of Zen Ties.
** from Wayne’s World, obvs. Party On, Wayne!

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