Whatever you’re feeling, it’s okay.

Dear Friends,

I know, it’s not exactly news that Larimer County’s infection rates have been rising exponentially, or that we were headed for an increased degree of shutting down. Actually, many of us have been hoping for this sort of action for a while.  

And STILL, there was something about the reality of it all today, as the emergency alert was sounded, and as we head towards an official “red” designation this week….it feels like a blow. Especially since this is the week of Thanksgiving, a week so many of us associate with large gatherings of family, sharing food and laughter, hugs and stories.

What I want to say is, it’s ok if it feels harder than you thought it would. It’s ok if you’re struggling. It’s ok if you’re scared. Just because it’s not new or news doesn’t make the trauma any less real. 

We’ve been in this a long time now, and we’ve lived with so many disappointments, so many small and big losses among us. We have had to make so many impossible decisions without enough information. Many of us are facing financial challenges, and no relief bill is yet in sight. 

And, the rising numbers are just another way to say – the virus has come in closer. Most of us now know at least one person in our friendship or family circle that has been sick with COVID (or we have had it ourselves). Some of these have gotten very sick. Some have died. 

This IS a collective trauma we are experiencing. And what we know about trauma is you will feel it in your body. It’s normal to feel tired or wired, zoned out or super tuned in, nauseous or without an appetite. It’s normal to seek comfort in the most basic ways.

Wherever you are, however you are responding, whatever is happening in your body, and in your heart, it’s ok, it’s right, and it’s enough. 

On Sunday, we practiced a meditation for self-compassion. I encourage you to take five minutes AT LEAST once a day in the coming days to ground yourself with this meditation. Be gentle with yourself.  Give yourself a blessing.  

Know that even now, even here – especially now, especially here, you are held in a greater love, a thread of love that connects you to everything and everyone else across all of time and space.  Even here – especially here, you are not alone.  

For a listening ear and a friendly voice, reach out to caring@foothillsuu.org to connect with our caring team.

Or, text to Rev. Elaine’s text-a-blessing hotline at 970-568-5580 and she will send you a blessing.

And if you are feeling a more urgent struggle, connect with the Community Crisis center line by calling 1 (844) 493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255. 

Even if you don’t think of yourself as someone who “needs help” (PS, we all need help!) or haven’t ever reached out in this way before, remember that these are unusual times. And so having an unusual response is completely normal, and even healthy.  

In this week of Thanksgiving, let’s turn to that practice we end all our services with – gratefulness. We practice it so often because we want it to feel like second nature, so that when the struggle comes, gratefulness will be there, in your bones, ready to meet you in the hardest moments. So now’s the time to lean on our practice.

Remember that alongside all the struggle, there is also always beauty, and joy, and love. Keep looking for the small and big gifts that are present here, and set aside time to say thank you, and to breathe it into your body, to let it meet the pain your body is holding.

It’s been a long road here, and we have still a ways to go.  But it’s not forever. The vaccine news is so good.  And our resilience remains so strong.  We are still so good at laughing, and dancing, and offering kindness in so many creative ways (yes that’s a kindemic.org plug!) to each other.  

We can get through this time, together, and we can take care of each other.  Even from a distance.  

With gratitude for all of you,

Gretchen