Can I tell you how sad I am?
There’s so much to be sad about these days. There’s so much to push your shoulders downward, to sink that sorrow deep down into your bones. The news. Fear. Conflict. Blame. A phone call. Loss. Worry. The past. Hate. Mistrust. The future.
The thoughts hang heavy and dark, like last week’s rain clouds. (Last week, Week Eight of our coronavirus isolation, was mostly dark and cool and wet – fitting weather for sadness.)
Let me tell you what I’m sad about.
I’m sad about our coronavirus dead. About lives taken too soon, about deaths that went unwitnessed. I’m sad for all those who longed to be with their loved ones, who didn’t get a chance to say goodbye.
I’m sad about our other dead, too. About those who suffered at home, who were too scared to go to the hospital. I’m sad about those who felt too desperate and hopeless to go on. I’m sad for those who must mourn without funerals, who won’t have anything resembling closure.
I’m sad about Ahmaud Abery. About his future and promise, stolen. About the fear and desperation he must have felt in his final moments.
I’m sad for Ahmaud’s mother. For his family and friends. For his community at home and across the nation. I’m sad that so many people live in fear of what others might do to them because of their skin color. I’m sad for all those black mothers who are terrified to send their children out into the world.
I’m sad that lynchings can still happen in 2020. I’m sad they ever happened at all. I’m sad to think of all those victimized by them. I’m sad to think of all those who gathered to watch. I’m sad to think that any person could do such a thing to another.
I’m sad for those who are sick. For those who sweat and shake, who watch their temperatures rise. For those who struggle to breathe.
I’m sad for those who have lost jobs. For those who can’t pay the rent. For those who struggle to feed their families. For those whose prospects have evaporated.
I’m sad for those who have lost business. For those who contemplate shutting down, who may never again find themselves whole, financially or professionally.
I’m sad for those at their breaking points.
I’m sad for the churches and charities that want to help, but may themselves be undone by this crisis.
I’m sad for those of us who long not just for community, but for Communion. I’m sad for all the millions of souls without access to the sacraments.
I’m sad for our priests and ministers and rabbis and imams.
I’m sad for our nurses and doctors and medical technicians.
I’m sad for our emergency personnel. For our frontline workers who have never before been considered frontline.
I’m sad about the communities and families divided by this crisis. About the hard feelings. About the misunderstandings, the miscommunications, the blame. About the desperation and fear that drive some to want to extend lockdowns and others to want to end them.
I’m sad for those who seek answers in conspiracy theories. For those who push and profit from them. For those who fall victim to them. For those who are harmed physically, emotionally, or reputationally by them.
I’m sad for our children, who won’t get to walk into their classrooms or hug their teachers again this year. I’m sad that school will look different next year, too. I’m sad that our kids will have to keep learning under a cloud.
I’m sad for their teachers, who we can’t thank in person.
I’m sad that I can’t see my grandparents, that I can’t touch my parents. I’m sad that what I want most right now – physical contact with those I love – can’t be made safe by loosening shutdown restrictions.
I’m sad about all those little things you hardly dare group with everything above: missed school plays and concerts, field trips and field days. Missed playdates and lunch dates and glasses of wine with friends. The prospect of a lonely summer.
Toward the end of last week, I sat in our front yard at sunset. I stared at the trees against the darkening sky and I recited this litany of sadness like a prayer.
I am so sad, Lord. There is so much to be sad about.
Lord, allow me unite my sadness to yours.
Lord, have mercy.