I ran across a poem today that I didn’t know I needed till I read it. Isn’t that how poetry works?
We are two years into the pandemic that some think is over, and I find myself still trying to process all the lessons and losses. This poem–which is really a prayer–profoundly articulates the complexity of the moment–the conflicting emotions, the questions, the changes in us. It was written by Nadia Bolz Weber, a pastor who describes herself as “foul-mouthed for a preacher, grammatically challenged for a bestselling author, surprisingly hopeful for a cynic.”
The poem was written after year one of the pandemic, but it is still relevant after year two.
Who We Are Now
By Nadia Bolz Weber
Dear God who made us all,
A year ago we did not know that we were about to learn:
what we could lose and somehow live anyway
where we would find comfort and where it would elude us
whose lives matter to whom
why we have kitchens in our homes.
In mid-March 2020 all I knew for sure is that
hoarding toilet paper doesn’t make you safe – it just makes you selfish.
But God, it feels like the world is about to open back up.
And I’m both thrilled and kind of scared about that.
Because I’m not who I was a year ago.
I want so badly
to hug my friends again
and laugh like hell again
and have amazing conversations again
and yet I am not sure how long I could do any of this before crying or just getting really quiet. My emotional protective gear has worn so thin, and grief just leaks out everywhere now.
I am so afraid that I will never be who I once was. And I am also afraid that I will be.
(Not to mention, I’m not entirely clear what size jeans I wear as the me I am now)
And yet, when I quiet my anxious thoughts, I start to suspect that I am now closer to the me you have always known and always loved. So help me trust that, Lord.
As things change, help us be gentle with ourselves and with each other. We are all wearing newborn skin right now.
About the Image: I had plans to share a sunflower postcard from one of my pen friends today, but this is the image the poem required. It is an edit of a photo I shot last fall. I was trying to emulate van Gogh’s wilted sunflowers–with a camera instead of a paintbrush. See Allotment with Sunflowers in the post.