In reflecting on tonight’s class regarding the pandemic and spirituality, I came into the session burdened by the readings and topic. While many Candler students in our class stated that they have not had much space to discuss the pandemic in their classes, I have discussed it quite often in mine. This paired with the natural continued weight of cultural trauma made me spurn at the idea of discussing the pandemic and spirituality more. However, I appreciated the “Passover and Pandemic’s” proposal that compared with the Passover’s symbolism, pain and destruction lead toward hope.
I also found myself in the article discussing COVID-19’s spiritual dimension that stated two types of reactions occur in response to the pandemic: rising to heroism or sinking into despair. I have experienced both. I work in healthcare and have continued working even amidst all the layoffs and rising stresses. I have felt triggered by conversations about the pandemic that seem to denounce its severity or write it off as unreal/uneffective. As a healthcare worker, I have been asked to repeatedly show up physically, but I have found myself not showing up emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. These aspects have waned as the pandemic has continued. I do not have the same kinds of energy that I had at the beginning–I have become more irritable, been needing (but unable to get) more sleep and rest, and have been more anxious at the surface.
I have found that the pandemic has forced rest and allowed people who may not have experienced spirituality before to find it, as stated in the article responding to faith and spirituality during the pandmic. However, for me I have found rest in walking away from the church. Perhaps this is because seminary is exhausting and we are consistently asked to engage our senses of religion and spirituality. While I barely have energy for anything and I am expending it on seminary, I have not found energy in being at church. I did experience a sense of rest and spirituality through Julian’s piano and reflection time. His presentation engaged water metaphors, and I also appreciate the tai chi to begin and continue in class. I really have loved attempting to move my body as a spiritual practice, and tai chi is built on this idea.
I must admit that I am very much looking forward to this course. Every single session and topic interests me and as a third year MDiv student, this idea of connecting our sense of self and the world with spirituality is perfect!