Last week I wrote about feeling heavier than normal. I generally am a fairly optimistic person; until I’m not. I kind of picture my life like a Bob Ross painting—if it doesn’t quite look right at this moment it will probably turn out beautiful in the end. Even my kids love Bob Ross. One night when we were bored, we dashed out and got some paints, brushes, and four canvases to see if we could follow along with him on PBS and experience the “The Joy of Painting.” After two hours (the program is ½-hour) we still weren’t finished. Every time we pushed pause or rewind to try to catch up with Bob, a tiny bit of the “joy” leaked out. I made it…barely. This is my effort—it wasn’t perfect, but it was something.
That’s what I’m hoping for… “something.” I have been affected by Covid-19 through small losses, but last week one of my life-long friends lost his mom. It wasn’t related to Covid, but Covid has impacted our ability to celebrate her life and mourn her loss with family and friends the way we normally do. There are some people who I love being around because they make you feel lighter after you’ve spent time with them. She was one of those: kind, funny, always greeted you with a smile when you saw her. And she wouldn’t miss an Ohio State football game if she could help it. The world is just a little bit less without her.
That’s what I’m hoping for… “something.” I have been affected by Covid-19 through small losses, but last week one of the student-athletes that I worked with passed away. It wasn’t related to Covid, but Covid impacts our ability to celebrate his life and mourn his loss with family and friends the way we normally do. There are some people I love being around because they are inspiring after you’ve spent time with them. He was one of those: he was a star in two sports at Stanford. We bonded because he started his professional baseball career in Montana, and we could talk about fishing and the mountains. Because of my work as a campus minister, I get to see a side of star athletes that not many people get to see. He was so thoughtful about his life and his faith. I texted a friend and described him as tough and tender-hearted. I want to be like him when I grow up. The world is just a little bit less without him.
So, I still feel heavy…maybe a little bit heavier—but I can’t imagine what the families are going through. Its week 9 for us in California…June 1st is the date of re-evaluating our shelter-in-place rules and what parts of our regular lives can open again. I’m anxious for something to change. It feels like a ½ hour program that’s lasted for two hours. In the meantime, I’m going to do my best to reach out…because there are people who are experiencing the heaviness and they (I) need to know that they aren’t alone. It probably won’t be perfect, but it will be something.
Photography by Bonnie Sanders