I went for another run today, even though all my runs in the last four weeks have been crappy. When I take off on my normal little route, I find myself getting tired quickly, slowing down at every incline, stopping and walking several times during a run that used to be easy. I continue to be surprised, like “Oh man, I felt really good today – I thought it might be coming back.” Guess not.
Today was the same, except that I was listening to Bridgetown Audio’s daily broadcast during my run. John Mark Comer has been one of the voices that I am listening to during this Covid-19 crisis. Today he was interviewing Tristen Collins, a licensed professional counselor who co-wrote a book called “Why Emotions Matter: Listen to the signals of your body” about embodied grief and trauma. I know I have lots of reasons to be thankful, and I also know that I am feeling grief. Things are different now, and they continue to change. The ground beneath me at work is shifting weekly now, if not daily. That is stressful. But they also talked about something called anticipatory grief…the feeling that something bad is going happen, that we can’t see yet, like a storm is coming. Or the anticipatory grief that even though things will get better, they will not go back to the way they were. It’s why my body can’t run well right now.
Yesterday I heard Dave Hollis say, “The way you take a hill when you’re running is the way you take your life.” This thought came to mind as I approached the next uphill block. So I tried to take it the way I normally would. Don’t slow down or stop – give it a little extra and make it over. It was no problem that time – I took the hill just fine. I did that a few more times and was so happy to have that little glimmer of hope that I will run better again sometime in the future. Today was still a crummy run, but I could imagine things getting better. It was the opposite of anticipatory grief – it was anticipatory hope.
At the very last block of my run, John Mark started talking about Good Friday as the day for grief (they recorded it yesterday). And Easter is the day for rejoicing in all that has been restored (He is risen!) but Holy Saturday is the day in between. That’s the day when nothing has been restored yet, but we have faith and hope that it will be. I believe in a God who restores broken things, because I have seen him restore broken things. This whole COVID-19 crisis feels like Holy Saturday. I grieve what is lost, but I feel deep peace and joy even while I’m sad and waiting. And I look forward to the future. We do not grieve like those who have no hope.