Notes from the Pandemic: There Will Be Joy

Yesterday, I had a pretty awful mental health day. I spent much of the days in tears. Since writing has always been how I've processed and made sense of the world, I decided to write about the experience. The simple act of writing did my heart and mind good. So, I've decided to publish some of my musings here, in a fairly unedited form in the hopes that perhaps others can relate to them (and maybe even find solace in them) as well. 

Today, the first infant died from COVID-19 in the US.

I heard the news while I was nursing Kendall and I just broke. I broke in a way that released all the pent-up emotions I've felt since this whole quarantine began.  

I sat and rocked Kendall, holding onto her for dear life, and I sobbed.

I cried for that baby; For our failure to save them.

I cried for that baby’s parents and the heartache they’re feeling.

I cried for what a mess this pandemic has become in our country and how it’s exposed the inadequacies in our healthcare system.

I cried out of fear. What if Kendall or Hope gets this virus? What if they're its next victim?

I cried and cried and cried.

And then Hope came racing into my room to tell me all about playing Kentucky Derby with daddy and how they raced against Zeb the Zebra – a character from the stories that daddy “makes up in his mind” at bedtime.

And then we went outside despite the rain, knowing that the fresh air would do us all good. 

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We walked. I pushed Kendall on her fancy trike with a long handle designed to save our backs. Eventually, Hope grabbed Doug’s hand and they went running down the middle of the street (Why not since there are no cars out and about?) 

They ran and ran, their joy apparent. Every time Kendall and I caught up to them, they took off again… Delighted to be doing something slightly mischievous together.

As I watched them, it occurred to me, in the midst of this uncertain time – a time filled with tears, anxiety, and horror - there is also joy.

May we have the eyes to see it each and every day.

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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