Unpacking Emotions of COVID-19: Disappointment

By Violetta Reum and Morgan Petit-Homme

Disappointment (n.): the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.

Violetta’s Experience:

The implications of COVID-19 have been overwhelming; thousands of people are dying world wide and people are jailed and fined if they are seen congregating outside during lockdown. 

In the US, the land of the free, we are having a hard time dealing with the concept that our desire for freedom could lead to a sickness or death for someone else.

We forget that our actions do in fact have consequences; some even deadly. 

In the midst of everything going on, I cannot help but feel disappointment in our people.

I am upset with those who are not taking this seriously.

I am disappointed by those who are making us (American Millennials and Gen Z) look uneducated and reckless, because I do not actually believe that this is who we are! I think we care about others, the world and our communities very much.

We are simply young and feel invincible. Death or disease can’t touch the young, right?

In the midst of all of this, I am almost embarrassed to be disappointed in the everyday things too.

As people are dying, I am ashamed to say I am disappointed that my sister-in-laws’ college graduation has been cancelled.

As doctors are fighting non-stop in hospitals, I am still disappointed that I can’t invite my close friends to celebrate my son’s first birthday. 

These seem trivial in the grand scheme of what is happening in the world, still, these are very important moments in my life, and I am disappointed that we cannot celebrate them in a way that they are meant to be celebrated. 

I know my feelings are deeply real, and I also know what is going on in the world.

So I hold the two in tension and I allow myself to feel both; my sadness for the world and my disappointment in the everyday. 

I don’t know what else to do, except to bring both of these before the Father; to surrender them fully and to grieve them deeply.

Because the tension will not go away, but the Creator of the Universe can hold them both in His palms.

Morgan’s Experience:

Disappointment often becomes rage, a fiery pit where my heart is supposed to be.

I know that sounds dramatic, but if I let myself dwell on the emotion of disappointment that’s exactly what it feels like. 

In the midst of everything that has gone on in the U.S. over the past month and a half, most of my disappointment lands on the Commander in Chief and the company I work for (a non-essential retailer).

I feel disappointed that neither one felt it necessary to protect us, workers and communities. 

To know that the government was made aware of a possible pandemic as early as November 2019 and knew of cases in the U.S. as late as mid-January and no necessary precautions were taken is infuriating.

The thought that we could have avoided the situation we are in now is overwhelmingly disappointing.

While concern began to mount and social distancing was being introduced in some cities around the country, I grudgingly arrived at work every morning.

I had an enormous amount of anxiety everyday.

I felt paranoid, washing my hands or using hand sanitizer every time I touched a surface.

Just “practice common sense” and “wash your hands often and don’t touch your face”.

I was being laughed at for bringing my own disinfectant and hand sanitizer to work (by both coworkers and management). There was a blatant disregard for the constant contact we have with customers and each other (we share equipment and repeatedly touch multiple hard surfaces). 

Two days before my company was basically forced to close stores, I felt a heaviness on my chest.

My anxiety became paralyzing. I wanted to yell and scream! I was on the verge of tears every time I thought about the reality we were in and that I had to face the world unprotected.

I was disappointed that I felt like I would eventually have to choose between my health and my job.

I was disappointed by the feeling that neither my government nor my employer cared enough to protect me (and others). 

Where disappointment has dissipated, gratitude has flourished.

I am incredibly lucky to work for a corporation that can and will pay it’s employees while the world is experiencing a crisis.

I am thankful for the front-line workers who are vital to our survival.

I am thankful that all of my family is safe and comfortable while we try to end this pandemic.

I am thankful that in the midst of this terrible crisis I get to and have an abundance of time and energy to spend with my Father. 

Action steps:

  1. Allow yourself to feel disappointed and try to verbalize exactly what you are disappointed about. Journal this or tell a trusted friend.
  2. After completing the first step, surrender your feelings to the Father and ask Him to show Himself in these circumstances. Spend a couple minutes sitting in His presence and listen to what He says.
  3. Think of all of the things you can be grateful for right now, in spite of your situation. Write these down. These will serve as important reminders for when you inevitably feel disappointed again.

Author: Violetta Reum

Violetta has always had a passion and calling to see people pursue God with their entire lives, find their calling and identity in Jesus, and seek deep healing from past trauma and abuse.  She enjoys spending time with her husband and son and discovering all of the coffee shops and hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

Author: Morgan Petit-Homme

Morgan has always had a compassionate heart, concerned with combating the injustices that many people face in this world. Morgan is passionate about seeing people educated and providing opportunities and spaces for open and honest dialogue. 

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