By Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew
It has been such a difficult year and I know that most of us are ready for 2020 to end. As the first year of a new decade, we all were excited in January to think about the possibilities as we made plans for the upcoming twelve months. Little did we know that three months in, our lives would change drastically. None of us could have predicted that many of us would be in our homes nine months of the entire year. No one could have told me that I would not be able to enjoy eating with friends and family at restaurants or even at gatherings in our homes. I would have not believed that wearing a mask would become a part of our attire or that my attendance at church would be restricted to being solely online. Everyone, in some way, has been impacted by this year.
My mother and I were reminiscing today and discussing this year’s effect on our lives. She lost six church members and five classmates. I have had several friends contract the disease and just recently, my dear friend’s son just died from complications of the disease. Chris was just 21. I did not think his death would affect me in the way it has—it has been so painful. Chris went through so many difficulties after contracting COVID-19. He had multiple hospital visits and even after being in ICU for months, he was finally released only to return several times because of his inability to breathe. It was heart-wrenching to hear his mother’s panic each time as she asked for prayer. My prayer warrior crew was always ready to lift our concerns to God and intercede on behalf of Chris.
His mother has endured so much, and I was so concerned as I witnessed her son’s struggles of the pain and concern, she tucked it away to focus on him. His mother’s faith has always been remarkable and even in some of her darkest moments; she encouraged me by witnessing her faith leap into action. Even the night of his death, in our tears, her faith did not falter. His sisters have been the same way. This was a family filled with so much love and to lose a son, a brother, a grandson, a relative, a friend who was a gentle giant like Chris is hard to swallow. I remember the toddler who ran around St. Philip’s who grew from a quiet, shy boy into a kindhearted, polite, generous, and driven young man. Chris will be so missed.
This year, all of us in some way have experienced loss. Whether it was the loss of a loved one, or a job/business or even our daily routine, there has been something that has occurred that has changed us. None of us will walk away from this experience as the person we were pre-pandemic. This Holiday Season and New Year will be different. Many of us are hurting. Some of us are grieving, isolated, frightened, or lonely. This is the time for us to be there for one another in ways we have not shown up before.
1. We must acknowledge our grief and pain. Hiding it does not help us but hinders us from experiencing the hands and hearts of others.
2. We are not alone. We may be dealing with a battle that others may be unaware of but know that we do not have do to this by ourselves.
3. Although we are physically distancing, we cannot afford to socially distance. We need each other and now, more than ever, we need to check on one another. We need to check in with people and ask how they are really doing beyond the superficial conversations.
4. Community cannot be forsaken. We may not be able to hang out with one another, but we need to create the spaces for connection. We need the presence of one another, and we definitely need to know that God is so present even now.
There are multiple scriptures that are reminders of God’s presence even when it doesn’t feel like God is on the scene like “Don’t be afraid, because I’m with you; don’t be anxious, because I am your God. I keep on strengthening you; I’m truly helping you. I’m surely upholding you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) God is still here and even when it appears to be absolute chaos, we are not alone. We do not have to carry this weight by ourselves. We must stand in and on our faith. I would be deceptive if I told you this was not hard for me and that I haven’t had so many prayers questioning and yet, I am reminded of God’s goodness in my past and in my present even when tears stream down my face and I don’t always understand why.
Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is a Buckner International Board Member and currently serves as Vice President of Community Affairs and Strategic Alliances for the State Fair of Texas. She is the author of three books and the host of a podcast for women, The Tapestry.