If It's Human...It's Mentionable

andy crouch anxiety blog covid covid-19 fear unhurried living Mar 18, 2020

Wow. We have been through it this week, right? The escalating news on COVID-19 has many people running to the store and stock piling supplies. From movie stars to sports figures, more and more people are being diagnosed. 

This is a great time to talk about fear and our response to it. It is good for all of us to stay responsibly informed and healthy, helping to keep others healthy as well. 

It’s also ok to feel fear (or anger or frustration or confusion). And it’s good to remember that fear is not our best motivator nor our best engine. 

Have you seen the new Mr. Roger’s movie? If not, don’t worry. There are no spoilers coming.

Like most other people, I really loved the movie. It was not at all what I expected, which was a welcome treat. One of my favorite lines from the movie was this:

Anything human is mentionable. And anything that is mentionable is manageable.

Fear is definitely a human emotion. Which, by Mr. Roger’s definition, means that it is mentionable—and, by extension, manageable.

So, during this time of social distancing and self-imposed quarantines, let’s remember to keep talking to each other. 

Share with your loved ones how you feel so that you can manage your fears, worries and concerns. Not in a “dump it on them” way, but in a “I need to process something with you” way. 

Sharing our feelings can help to keep them from overwhelming us. Our feelings want to be seen and heard. It doesn’t work to deny them. Then we, as the mature adults we are, can continue to discern our actions and responses.

Mr. Rogers had a such a way about him. He was tenaciously good. The way he engaged teaching children about the real current affairs of the world — well, he was singular in his efforts.

This idea of human-mentionable-manageable really brings it all into focus, doesn’t it? It’s an invitation to talk about what is really going on and stepping out in faith that it is actually not unmanageable. What we mention is manageable.

Mr. Rogers’ statement put courage in me. And that is encouragement at its best. It means we don’t have to hide. 

  • What are your feeling today in light of COVID-19?
  • What can you mention about it today? 
  • How might that make it more manageable?

Human. Mentionable. Manageable. 

Sounds like a good way forward.

P.S. Here is a helpful article written by Andy Crouch and shared with us by our diocese, Churches for the Sake of Others. Feel free to read and make use of whatever parts of this counsel suits you and your people.

Crouch covers the following:

  1. What is happening? An overview of the most important things for Christian leaders, anywhere in the United States, to know about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.
  2. What should we communicate? A list of the most helpful messages others can hear from us — and the most harmful messages as well.
  3. What decisions should we make? Recommendations for decisions about large gatherings, medium-size gatherings for Christian worship, and small groups meeting in households.

What can we hope for? A few reflections on the genuine possibility that our decisions in the next few weeks could reshape the practice of Christian faith in our nation and, God being merciful, lead to a revival of the church of Jesus Christ in America.