If these last 2 years taught us anything, it is the importance of meaningful, purposeful relationships. Whether it is with your husband, friends, or children- these relationships played a pivotal role in our mental health during times of isolation. Texts, phone calls, DMs, and front yard get-togethers all kept us going when we couldn’t gather like we always had before. But what happens when your people- your Mom tribe, – fractures? Moreover, what happens when the pandemic is the cause?
Those of us who dared to apply critical thinking skills to what started occurring in early 2020 have experienced some degree of separation and loss. It is to be expected when your thoughts and opinions go against the government, media, and general opinion. Asking questions became offensive, even from those who were taught to question everything. The most outspoken, anti-government people started to unquestionably accept everything what was said by our leaders as fact. We were told 2 weeks to stop the spread, – and everyone was on board. When that didn’t work, – and we still had questions, – we were called uncaring, Grandma killers, science doubters, and crazy conspiracy theorists.
I have been a life-long, Christian and pro-life conservative in a not-so-conservative world. And, I made it work. I was a part of a local Mom’s blogging group, and I loved these women. They were my people! We were so different, – with different age children, different religions, different backgrounds- but we rallied around each other and protected each other. When the world started to change and the lockdown began, I realized what fear could do to even the most educated, free-thinking people. It could cause people to turn on each other- no matter if they are your family or your best friend. The more vocal I became, the less visible my Mom tribe became. Complete strangers reached out to me, – to say how they admired my ability to speak my truth, but my closest friends distanced themselves from me. At the end of 2021, I was encouraged to write my now infamous blog post “A Love Letter From Your Unvaccinated Friend” by my tribe. The editor said it was really well done and she loved it. Even so, everyone completely ghosted when it was published. Days later, when the post appeared rewritten on AmericanMom, I was fired from my tribe of 10 years.
I’m certain my story isn’t uncommon. I’ve heard many, many stories of strained and even terminated relationships with family/friends/co-workers over this. Since the virus is no longer the headline, and seems to have all but disappeared from our news feed, how do we recover those relationships? Should we even bother?
I will have to admit, I have spent more time in prayer over this situation than anything else in my adult life. Typing that statement out makes me cringe. I’ve spent more time asking God for guidance over this situation than the health of my family? My marriage? Mourning the end of decade-long friendships can feel like a death. And it does. But when does friendships take the place of my kids and husband? They should not. The family I have made has never, ever turned their back on me. As different as my husband and I are, he is my biggest supporter. And I hate to admit- he saw all of this coming, but I told him he was wrong. But alas- he was right.
While I am not a therapist, my best advice to myself and those in my situation is to trust God. Lean into the family you made. Open your bible. While I was sad to have my relationship with my Mom tribe end, I found a home here at AmericanMom. When friends who I thought would never leave me actually left me, there were new friends out of the blue who supported me. God knows what He is doing. I mutter that phrase to myself a few times a day. So, while we may never recover those relationships lost over differing opinions, I promise you- it will get better. I am more present for my husband, daughter, and son. I am more intentional with my time and talents.
Romans 8:28 says “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” He can take the most unfortunate event and turn it for good. For me, my prayers are different now. They are for wisdom and protection. As Psalm 23:6 reads, “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” When a better course becomes evident, you will know what doors God is closing. I didn’t close the door on my tribe, but I trust God’s timing. Better days are ahead, my friend.