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The New York Times published a piece last week about a mental health state called “languishing” — a state of joylessness and aimlessness that is not quite depression, but it’s not quite happiness either. It sparked a collective jolt of recognition, a naming of a collective pandemic feeling.
Our brains are so tired of being on high alert.
We’re so exhausted by constant, changing math-problem of threat.
So flummoxed by the difference between our own panic and our neighbor’s.
We’re exhausted with our own judgments,
Irate at the fogging of our glasses.
Puzzled by the shifting norms,
the endless lack of consensus for how to do this well.
We’re so grieved by the profoundly broken trust
that distances us from the ones we’re called to love,
the ones called to love us.
God. We’re so tired.
It makes it hard to focus.
We’re sick of cooking,
sick of Netflix,
sick of walking the same dog down the same streets.
We’re getting sick of our lives.
It’s hard to remember what it felt like
to have ideas, to put in an effort, to rise to an occasion.
We just don’t care like we used to,
don’t find much delight anymore.
Can’t remember how to grab hold of things that matter.
De-fog our vision, God.
Help us to see with clarity again.
Help us to look around us and notice the others
who are in this moment with us.
Help us to name this languishing,
this dogged powerlessness.
And help us to feel less alone.
May our participation in the community of the honest
Restore in us some joy.
Beauty in this bleakness.
Hope in this ongoing unknown.
Call us forward.
We forgot which direction that is.
Help us onto our feet, and summon us to toddle toward your beckoning voice
like children, learning to walk.
Help us to trust.
Help us to laugh.
You are a bounteous God.
And we can sort of remember bounty.
We remember laughter, hugs, events.
We remember wearing eyeliner
and eating food that we did not prepare.
We remember meeting new people.
We remember the feeling of possibility.
So draw near to us, O bounteous God.
In this unexpected, interminable moment.
Gift us with what we admit we fail to summon for ourselves:
a grateful heart,
a trusting spirit,
a peace-filled mind.
Surprise us once again with your daily graces:
birdsong, a sprouted seed, a laughing child, a cup of coffee.
Remind us of your cosmic care,
of the largeness of your world,
your timeless purpose,
the goodness of your promise.
You love us, you see us, you keep us.
Thanks be to you, O God.