I woke up only to realize that our whole xiao qu1 had been blocked off and sealed because of a COVID case.
I heard a lot of hustle and bustle outside and went to look out the window. I saw people talking loudly and hurrying as if they were late for something. I went down to see what was up. “Hurry up! You need to buy vegetables and other food—stock up. They will close our complex for at least a week or two.”
This is what many have experienced recently in various locations across China as new cases of COVID-19 have appeared. Often the first reaction is: “oh no, not this again. I thought life was back to normal.”
I keep hearing that phrase, “back to normal,” over and over again as I care for people in China and its neighbouring countries. “No more lockdown and COVID is almost over so we’re fine now” is like a mantra ringing in peoples’ minds and shared like a call to prayer from a minaret. We are fine . . . or at least we should be. And so it seems, until I sit down with someone—in my case almost always with the help of technology—and talk.
We are at the end of 2021, and we can almost see 2022 around the corner. That means that very soon it will have been two years—Two Years!— since we started to add new words to our daily vocabulary. Words like: Coronavirus, lockdown, hand sanitizer, restrictions, quarantine, PCR-tests, pandemic, social distancing, and zoom meetings—just to mention a few.
Two years! That is a very long time. To believe that you are “fine” because lockdown is over, and schools are open again is very naïve. The emotional damage will be there for long after. Some children have missed out on “normal” social interactions for a long period of their lives!
“I didn’t think this was such a big thing for me,” she said as she continued sharing. She had thought that she was in an emotionally good place and didn’t think that COVID had had any serious effect on her personally. Until she heard that COVID was back in her area and that they might have to go into lockdown again. Something happened in her. “It was like something itching and scratching inside of me.”
As we talked, I asked her to locate and describe that “itchiness.” It took some time to track it down, which didn’t surprise me at all. That’s the way emotions works. They hide in your soul and in your mind. They grow there. Especially when they are unattended and are “accidently” watered by worries, news, and previous situations in your life. Negative emotions are like weeds in your garden. You don’t really know where they came from but suddenly they are here and there and everywhere. You don’t know their names. You Google and compare pictures to try to identify the intruders so you can get rid of them in the most effective way.
During the last two summers, I’ve been fighting a lot of weeds in our garden back in our home country. The weeds had been ignored for a long time and had almost taken over the grass and the flowers beds. After I pulled them out and used a recommended method to get rid of them, the garden looked so nice! But wait . . . one day as I sat nearby enjoying a cup of coffee, suddenly I saw those uninvited guests again. The weeds were back, and I was reminded that I had only fixed the surface. I hadn’t dealt with the roots, nor had I taken a good look at the environment—where did those roots come from?
Am I saying that all emotions are like weeds and bad? No! Absolutely not! I believe that emotions are a gift from God our Creator. Imagine a life where you wouldn’t feel joy, love, or even sadness? It would be a very cold and, quite frankly, very boring life.
We see many examples in the Bible about emotions. We read in Galatians 5:22 that emotions are fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace . . . the list goes on. Without emotions we would actually endanger ourselves (and others). For example, healthy fear protects us. It warns us about danger.
Emotions are a blessing and not a sign of weakness. Someone asked me: “Do I feel negative emotions and struggle because I don’t spend enough time reading the Bible? Does it mean that God loves me less when I get angry or struggle with depression?” No! Not in any way.
I always encourage the people I provide care for to befriend their feelings and emotions. Learn to recognize them. What are they a symptom of? Why do I always react that way when this happens? Learn to recognize and be able to separate the daisies from the weeds. Water the right ones and get the shovel out and, if needed, hire a gardener to help you find the way down to the roots of the weeds of emotions which are taking over the garden of your soul. Never be ashamed to ask for help.
Image credit: Weeds! by Amy Goodman via Flickr.
Are you enjoying a cup of good coffee or fragrant tea while reading the latest ChinaSource post? Consider donating the cost of that “cuppa” to support our content so we can continue to serve you with the latest on Christianity in China.