Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Mental & Spiritual Health

                   Sophie Gregoire Trudeau

We're hearing a lot about mental health awareness in the midst of the pandemic, with articles, radio pieces, and podcasts showing up everywhere these days. Yesterday there was an announcement about a new podcast series by Sophie Gregoire, the spouse of Prime Minister Trudeau. She contracted COVID-19 in March so has the experience of recovering from what could have been an deadly illness, as well as the necessity of quarantine. Certainly the demands of her husband's job has put huge pressure on their family as well. The series will include some well-known Canadians including former Olympians Silken Laumann and Tessa Virtue, as well as Margaret Trudeau. 

There are millions of Canadians who are dealing with increased debt, precarious or no employment, constant proximity to family members, and both physical and social isolation. There are hundreds of thousands of health care workers who go to work fearing sickness for themselves and their families. Many people are in grief because of the deaths of loved ones whom they aren't allowed to grieve communally in a meaningful manner. It really is timely to be speaking openly about mental health.

We can include spiritual health alongside mental health in our conversation because they are intertwined. I spoke with a colleague who is in active ministry with a congregation which is elderly. He is grateful that there have been no significant hospitalizations or deaths over these past couple of months, which is unusual. He is more concerned about the effects of isolation of the mental well-being of his flock. For those who live alone and for others who are in demanding relationships the opportunities to gather for worship and community are essential to wholeness in body, mind, and spirit. As with many other clergypersons with pastoral hearts he's staying in touch with those who are vulnerable in the midst of this pandemic. 

We can all ask how we can contribute to the mental and spiritual health of others during these strange days which seem to have no end. It could be months before we're allowed to worship together again, and even then anxiety may keep some away. I'm so impressed that members at Trenton United are providing meals for some of the people who are isolated. Son Isaac's online messages have been pastoral and supportive. 

We can all pray for the "peace which passes understanding" for those who are struggling. And if you are one of the many who find that worry and anxiety come unbidden, you are not alone and you're loved. You might include pastors in your prayers as well. They are doing their best without a script, and some of them are wondering about their futures.

May the Risen Christ be with you each day.

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