If we talk about joy all the time, are we ignoring the great needs and suffering of the world?
~ Mary Clark Moschella
In the season of the Coronavirus Pandemic, this is a very important question. Can we indeed hold together joy and beauty with suffering, great needs and grief?
This question belongs to the entire world in this moment.
When Rev. Dr. Mary Moschella began to gather stories for her book Caring for Joy, she found her self seeking examples of people who live in such a way that they attend to difficult, painful and grief-filled work, yet they find a way to bring beauty and joy into that work. It is the ‘secret sauce’ of the healing they do.
Who are your examples of people who do amazing and difficult work… and do it with joy and beauty?
This week, we want to invite you to take time to thank those people in your life. The pastors, friends, parents, teachers, health care workers, chaplains, non-profit leaders, delivery drivers, professors, child-care givers, ministers, seminary staff, grocery workers, fire, EMT and police officers, cleaning staff, mentors, gas station attendants, farmers, transportation workers, technology experts, activists advocating for people and causes feeling the crush of the pandemic, all essential workers, and other unsung champions who are getting us through this time.
Head over to our 3MMM Facebook, this morning’s Instagram post, or the 3MMM Twitter feed, and share this image on a friend’s walls or in a message. Thank them for their work and tell them how it brings you joy to witness their dedication and commitment to caring and leading in this most difficult of times.
It was Paul Farmer, founder of Healthcare Partners who said, “Joy is the secret sauce” of caring for the health of people in countries with very limited resources. Listen as Mary tells us a bit of that story. Read more about Paul Farmer’s work in healthcare for those suffering with Covid-19 here.
Dr. Farmer wants to support beauty and joy in the lives of people who are suffering and seeking healing. Mary reminds us that “it’s easy to get burned out in our fields. And if we do ministry in a dreary and joyless way or feel that it’s only all about responding to emergencies, then the joy will drain out of the work.”
How are you grieving in this season of pandemic?
This week I am inviting you to do two things. First is to thank someone who is doing difficult and amazing work. Write a note, send an email, type up a text, tag them on social media. Just boost their day with a some gratitude. Second is to help us collect ways to care for grief in this season of social/physical distancing.
Part of a struggle leaning into joy or beauty is the mass of grief and loss that we are all feeling. Typically getting through grief involves some kind a social connection. Certainly some people need time alone. Yet many of us depend on each other to help us make it through.
In these days of pandemic when funerals are limited or postponed, gatherings of all kinds are impossible or delayed, we need to pay careful attention to how we are attending to our grief. Join us in this project this week: We need new rituals for #PandemicGrief, so we are making a collection and gathering of our best practices in this season of isolation.
As Mary wisely notes in our interview, If we don’t find beauty and joy, we “won’t be able to do our work.” To touch beauty and joy in the midst of suffering and loss, we need to support one another in grieving in new ways.
Let’s gather our best thoughts and practices and share them this week… and beyond.