Masking

I appreciated being called out by a friend as she seeks to highlight the importance of mental and emotional health, and wellness, especially in this time of COVID-19.

I also appreciate that she didn’t ask me to do push-ups! (Which was the challenge being asked of others.) I wasn’t any good at push-ups when I was 18, and I haven’t gotten any better at age 48. (My arms are too damn long.) But I have always created art. Perhaps my attempts at humor or provocation are a helpful distraction or even a blessing.

The piece below was created out of my experience as a hospital chaplain, working primarily on the ICU and Emergency Department. Every day I speak with nurses and other staff, trying to support them as they support others. Many are broken and on the verge or burnout, especially since they are likely facing many months of COVID realities to come. They care deeply and are witnesses to patients cut off from their families, and families desperate to see their loved ones, but not allowed to do so. They see too many unnecessary deaths.

It’s a difficult place to live, on the soul level. They want to stay emotionally engaged and yet they have too protect their hearts and minds, to some degree, lest they spin out into very dark places. I often live in that space, too.

So, yes, for your own health and the health of others, seek out connection and community, get out in nature, and if you can make art, do so.

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