The coronavirus makes us angry and frustrated. Thinking about it is simply depressing. Everyone I’ve talked to has somehow been negatively affected by it—whether it’s getting laid off from a job, being sent home from college, or transitioning to teleworking.
The Truth Comes Out
But I think there’s an underlying reason why we dislike COVID-19 so much. Sure, the lack of toilet paper, the constant mask-wearing, and the frequent boredom are irritating. But perhaps the deeper—and subtler—reason we hate COVID-19 is because it wasn’t part of our plan.
I know I should show compassion for those who are suffering, but, instead, I feel disappointed about my own plans. If we choose to be honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that we care more about our having to cancel vacations, getting laid off, or being unable to see friends than the coronavirus doctors and patients.
Because this isn’t what we planned for 2020. We planned job promotions, parties, vacations, weddings, and graduation ceremonies. COVID-19 definitely wasn’t part of the plan.
How to Deal with Our Changing Plans
I’ve invited a few of my friends to share about their recent disappointments due to the coronavirus. I appreciate their honesty but also their positivity. And, as a side note, I don’t think my friends are selfish for feeling disappointed about the recent cancellations in their lives. They’re simply human, but God cares about how they feel.
Here’s what Lilli had to say about her cancelled graduation ceremony:
I had thought of the possibility of graduation getting cancelled, but it was still a shock to hear the news. I definitely had to take time to grieve that loss. For me I wasn’t nearly as sad to lose the long, dry graduation ceremony as I was sad to abruptly lose time with my community of people at college, especially because I live so far away from school…
But Lilli has been learning how to live with the disappointment:
I’m really bad at surrendering control over situations and waiting patiently to know outcomes for my future, so this level of disappointment and uncertainty has been really hard. I wish I could say I went straight to the Lord and have trusted Him completely, but I didn’t and I haven’t and most days it’s a struggle to remember that it’s not my job to worry about every detail about my future (career, housing, relationships, etc.). Spiraling into all the what-ifs is really easy to do; but I’m grateful for the tools I’ve learned in counseling for recognizing those unhealthy thought processes and changing them. I’ve also started practicing meditating and praying in God’s presence, which has been really life-giving.
Megan shared about her cancelled wedding:
It was frustrating and disappointing knowing I couldn’t have all my loved ones and friends attend and share one of the most important days of my life. This is one of the events that a girl spends almost their whole childhood planning and dreaming of their awe-inspiring celebration. Going through all the months’ work of planning and being put at a halt due to something out of your control is so disheartening.
But Megan has been recognizing blessings and possibilities:
As sad as it was not having everyone at the wedding, it was such a special and unique ceremony that I could never forget. I have been dealing with the disappointment by trying to find another venue that is available to hold a celebration event later in the year for our marriage. Knowing that we always have another time and day to have friends and family attend an event to celebrate our union as husband and wife is very encouraging. Most importantly, the best thing helping me get through the disappointment is having the opportunity to get married before the stay at home order came into effect. I am so incredibly thankful that I have Justin [her new husband] right by my side during this hard and stressful time. I can’t imagine going through this global pandemic without him…
Emily told me about her baby shower that was cancelled:
I was pretty disappointed when my baby shower was cancelled due to COVID-19. It felt like I was being robbed of something special; a milestone that many women get to have during their first pregnancies. Because many women have baby showers when they are expecting for the first time, I was disappointed in realizing that I might not ever get to have a typical baby shower. I also felt bad for the people who were looking forward to planning and hosting it for my husband and me.
Still, Emily has been moving on from her disappointment:
I try not to dwell on the fact [that the baby shower] was cancelled due to the virus. Additionally, if we’d had the shower and someone had contracted the sickness, I would’ve felt bad, so I’m thankful that was not a possibility due to its cancellation. One thing that has helped me deal with the disappointment of the baby shower being cancelled, was that my mom wanted to set up a virtual shower for me through Zoom for some of our out of state family members…it was such a blessing to have family want to participate and join. We have also been blessed by receiving presents despite the shower being cancelled, so I’ve been enjoying receiving the gifts for our baby!
It’s Okay to Cry Now
My lovely friends’ plans changed overnight, and it’s likely that yours have, too. Personally, that’s why I think we hate the coronavirus so much. Because we’re upset that it’s changing our plans. And it’s okay to be sad about that. Thankfully, we don’t grieve alone.
You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? (Psalm 56:8 NASB)
No matter how much this COVID-19 pandemic has changed your life, know that God grieves with you if you’re His child. It’s easy to say, “God still has good things planned for you,” or, “Just wait to see what God has in store.” But those things are hard to hear right now.
For the moment, I invite you to grieve, like Lilli mentioned. Because you don’t cry alone, feel frustrated alone, or hurt alone. He sees you—even in the midst of exhausted healthcare workers, family members who have lost loved ones, and dying coronavirus patients.
He. Sees. You.