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While pondering what she misses about her pre-COVID life, Kerry Campbell reflects on the need to recognize our losses, big and small.

I woke up this morning really missing my pre-COVID life, specifically teaching early childhood music in person in classrooms with real human kiddos. I’m working hard at making remote classes work in some of my usual settings, but as of now there are three schools plus a children’s museum for which my connection has been totally lost since March. I’m missing the kids and the teachers and the interactions and the routine and, honestly, the self-esteem I got from doing a really good job at a thing I loved to do.

This morning, I let myself feel that loss, of the engagement and connections, the faces and relationships. I imagined the classrooms and people I so deeply miss, the activities which connect so well face-to-face and which seem to make a lasting impression on my preschool students. The look in their eyes when music makes a home in them. I don’t know when I’ll feel any of that again. It’s a heavy loss.

Our world has been rocked since March, with so many changes in how we’re living our lives day-to-day that we forget to take stock. We’re forging ahead, making our adjustments, and trying to make the world a better place all at the same time. And we can forget, in all of that adjusting and action and change, to take stock of what we’ve lost, what we’ve kept, and what we’ve found.

It’s been eight months since the pandemic reached us in real, practical, and scary ways. Maybe we’ve lost big, unmeasurable things in that time: people, employment, housing, health, communities, and faith practices. Maybe the losses are smaller but still painful. I, for one, really miss parties and people, shows and singing, gathering with friends in restaurants. I miss hugging my friends -- like I seriously miss it. How about you? Have you stopped to breathe lately and recognize your losses, big and small, in this time?

And how about what you’ve kept? The things which have stayed blessedly stable, the things you’re not currently worried about, big and small, which affect your routines and how you’re meeting each day. Your home, employment, health, and family are things I hope are stable for you in this time. For me, as I sit on my porch on this crisp autumn day, I’m grateful for the presence of my pup, Bailey, and for bright blue skies. I’ve kept my love of cooking and good food, of walking, writing, podcasts, and reading. The chimes on my porch are singing peace as they’ve always done.

And, friend, what have you found in these eight months, something that’s brought new color or perspective to your life, something you couldn’t have imagined at the start? Maybe there’s a new job or significant other, a new exercise routine or habit. Maybe you’ve found new compassion for yourself and others in the realization that we really are all in this together. For me, I’ve found new clarity in a particular calling and a few new connections to go along with it. I’ve gained unplanned, grace-filled, precious time with my college daughter who’s home learning remotely this semester. I’ve gained a new lens and clarity on what it means to be an American, a Catholic, a person with privilege, and on the responsibility that comes with that clarity. 

What have you lost, kept, and gained these past eight months? #catholicmom

How about you? What have you lost, kept, and gained these past eight months? My guess is that you could say something about each category, and list things large and small in each one. As you name them, mourn and celebrate them, it’s recognition of our shared experience in this bizarre time. The puzzle pieces of our lives have been upended; our expectations have shifted. As everything sits somewhat up in the air, it’s time now to call it out for what it is and what we hope it will be when everything finally finds its place and lands.

Oh God, may it be soon. May it be well. May it be light.

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Copyright 2021 Kerry Campbell
Image: Canva Pro