What It’s Really Like Out There

Kristin Pelletier

Kristin Pelletier

Central Writer & Editor


Jenna, a Physical Therapist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, has attended Kensington’s Clinton Twp campus with her family for a few years. She believes her strong faith foundation is helping her in this challenging season of fear and ever-changing job responsibilities. “…I started on the ‘prone team.’ Basically, my team is responsible for turning patients onto their bellies to allow them to breathe easier in the hope of reducing the amount of time needed to be on the breathing machine.”

It takes courage just to walk into the room of a COVID-19 patient, Jenna admits, but she’s been focusing on the phrase from Kensington’s previous series: Hope is not canceledShe’s also been reading Rediscover the Saints by Matthew Kelly, which feels more relevant now than ever, “[This book] provided a wonderful example of how saints are people doing amazing things in God’s name. It gives me motivation to show up to work every day.” 

Jenna is grateful for this opportunity to share her experience, and she’s gathered stories from her sister and friends as well. “Thank you…[it has] been therapeutic for all of us to write about how our daily lives have changed.”  

What if during the most stressful season of your life, you had to avoid all contact with those you love most?

You’ve probably heard stories of medical staff staying away from their families because of the very real danger of spreading COVID-19 to them. Even if it’s becoming somewhat common, it’s a considerable sacrifice for each one of them.

Meredith, a school Speech and Language Pathologist, shares how she and her husband have chosen to live apart because of his residency program in Family Medicine at the University of Michigan. Meredith says that her husband is a hero – her hero – and that he goes to work each day with a brave face despite the deep-down fear.

“As the wife of a family physician resident with a one-year-old, we made the very difficult decision that my son and I should isolate from my husband during this time. My husband is working long hours at the hospital and is most likely getting exposed to COVID-19 regularly…We ultimately decided that it would be best if my son and I moved back home to my parents’ for the time being—with no end date and a lot of unanswered questions.”

Meredith believes that God has been very present to her family during this time. “Every night when I put my one-year-old to bed, I sing “I See the Moon” to him. It tells how God is always with us during difficult times and He always loves us. We know God is with us and God will protect us…”

“We did not sign up for this…We did not sign up to be army nurses. We signed up to help people with adequate supplies and protection. YET, we still show up…” says Kristjiana.

Kristjiana, a friend of Jenna’s, is a Registered Nurse in a COVID+ Medical Intensive Care Unit working the frontlines of this pandemic. She shares openly about the range of emotions that surface as she fights this battle of a different kind.

“Every day, it takes me at least five minutes to enter a patient’s room. I have to plan carefully to ensure I do everything I have to do for the patient. I feel guilty because I don’t want my patients to be lonely. I feel guilty because every time I enter, I risk exposing myself, my coworkers, everyone we interact with. I feel scared and paranoid every day. I get in my head about my mask not being on right and contracting the virus. I have nightmares about becoming sick. I wake up in a panic at night. My face and head hurt from the tight masks and face shield. My heart hurts because families can’t see their loved ones in such vulnerable moments. My heart hurts for myself because I can’t hug my coworkers…”

Kristjana explains that even new diseases are usually treated similarly – within a known framework of processes and tools. “[Usually] we know the enemy,” she says, but now they’re not so sure and “it’s scary not knowing.” Nurses receive several emails a day with updates on new processes, and PPE has been limited.

“We’re running out of everything (masks, gowns, gloves, medications, staff, ventilators, etc). We’re all learning to be very flexible and adapt to change. They put up plastic walls so we can take care of more patients.”

Kristjana’s first of many moments of helplessness came several weeks ago, when she couldn’t find a mask for her coworker. “I checked every stash I had, I couldn’t find one in her size. I ran to the next unit, checked their stash, still couldn’t find one. I called the charge nurse, still no masks. I was so scared, I wanted to angry cry. How could we not have enough supplies? I began to hyperventilate as I thought about her husband and children. It was one of the most helpless feelings I’ve had in my life.”

The challenges and perpetual fear are offset by something though: teamwork. Kristjana says that she is working alongside “an amazing group of people whom she can rely on when things get much much harder. ” She even refers to them as “my people,” and sees them pulling together toward victory.

How do you cancel appointments for a patient facing cancer? How do you prioritize a life-threatening disease versus a life-threatening virus?” asks Madison.

Madison, Jenna’s sister, is a Certified Child Life Specialist who runs the Families Facing Cancer Program within the Patient and Family Support Services (PFSS) Department at the University of Michigan’s Rogel Cancer Center. They provide services which support the psychosocial needs of cancer patients and their families.

“Healthcare professionals are helpers, fixers, and doers. They want…everyone to be safe and healthy,” Madison says, “but what if that is overtaken by something out of your control, a life-threatening, global virus with no cure?”

A few weeks ago, Madison was told to work remotely. She was heart-broken. Now she is supporting her patients and their families as best she can over the phone. “I offer suggestions on supporting their children, provide as many resources as I can, listen to them, validate their fears and concerns knowing I have many of the same, try to provide humility and support at a time where isolation closes in on already isolated population. The scare of this virus causes stress, anxiety, fear, and uncertainty to individuals and their families who are already experiencing that on a daily basis with a cancer diagnosis.”

Madison has three requests for us as a community:
  1. Please take the precautions and the executive order seriously.
  2. Please pray for one another and all frontline workers.
  3. Please intentionally support the children in your life. (See Tips below).


Communicate
. Talk to your children in a way they can understand. Use a calm voice, and keep conversations simple and age-appropriate.
Listen to your child and ask open-ended questions. “Tell me what you’re thinking.” “What do you already know?” Use this time to clear up misconceptions and provide honest, accurate information. Also, limit children’s access to media which can spread scary and false information.
Validate a child’s feelings and help them manage anxiety, not eliminate it. Example: “I know you’re scared, and that’s okay. I’m here and I’m going to help you through this.”
Brainstorm ways to manage the anxiety. Practice deep belly breathing, doing arts and crafts, listening to or making music, doing physical activity, and so on. Help children come up with a list of activities that are enjoyable to them. Play continues to be a child’s most important job.
Reassure children that you have a plan to keep them safe. This can be an opportunity to talk about the importance of washing hands, cleaning toys, encouraging them to keep things away from their face, telling an adult if they’re feeling sick, and so on.
Model appropriate coping and the behavior you want to see. Children often look to adults and observe how they handle situations. Try to recognize when you are feeling stressed or anxious and verbalize what you are going to do to help yourself.If you’re on the front lines during this global pandemic, we want to hear your story! Share in the comments below. Together, we will come out stronger.

Share this post

101 Shares
You Might Like...
steve andrews
Melissa Thwing

A Walk That Changed Everything

While the Pokot people may be forgotten to some, they are considered family to Kensington Church. Kensington’s Hope Water Project provides new water wells for the impoverished, neglected and marginalized people of the Pokot tribe in northwestern Kenya.

andrew kim
Andrew Kim

I Am Not A Virus | From An Asian American

By Andrew Kim, Troy Campus Teaching Pastor
with support from Steve Andrews, Hebert Cabral, Kleber Cabral, Danny Cox, Cliff Johnson, Joel Leipprandt, Craig McGlassion, Jeremiah Roy, Justin Warns, Cody Wilson, Dave Wilson, and Chris Zarbaugh.

Never miss another blog post.
Subscribe to be notified when new posts are published.

pagination_prv_arrow
EnglishPortuguese

Birmingham Campus

We are offering a time for our congregation to gather after the 10am service for prayer in the Groves Auditorium, 20500 W 13 Mile Rd, Beverly Hills, MI 48025.

On Sunday evening, Dec 5, parents of high school and middle school students are invited to the second half of our Edge gathering at Genesis Church, 309 N Main St, Royal Oak, MI 48067, at 6:15pm. We will have a breakout to equip parents in caring for themselves and processing pain with their children in times of tragedy.

Parents & Student Resources

Parents – self care is critical. It’s important to do your own processing with another adult so that you can be more present as your child processes. Here are tools that you can use to get you started.

Podcast

Helpful Blogs

Other Materials

Counselors Are Needed After Tragedy

“The aftermath of the Oxford shooting tragedy will undoubtedly result in traumatic symptoms and experiences across our communities for quite some time. Healing the brain through evidence-based therapies is absolutely possible with clinical guidance. There is a valuable village of Trauma Therapists with collective resources standing by for Oxford, for both direct and secondary survivors to engage in therapy. Until then, we honorably hold a sacred space, as students, families, staff and school partners continue to mourn.” -Laura Azoni, LMSW, Founder of Sanctuary Services

Orion Campus

We believe that unity at this time is more important than ever. Several churches in the area are partnering together to offer space for students to begin the process of healing.

We will have several grief and trauma specialists on site this Sunday evening at our Orion Campus (4640 S Lapeer Rd Lake Orion, MI 48359) from 5-6:30pm and will have a night of prayer, worship and an opportunity for students to process with each other.

Tate Myre Funeral:
Monday, 12.6 Visitation 1 to 8pm
Tuesday, 12.7 Visitation 10-12pm and funeral at Noon

Clinton Township Campus

We will be offering a time for our congregation to gather after each service for a time of corporate prayer in the Greatroom. Prayer will be offered at 10:15 am and 12:15 pm. (25000 Hall Rd, Charter Twp of Clinton, MI 48036)

This Sunday at 3:30 pm as a community we want to gather, pray and mourn together. We are all looking for answers and wondering why tragedy happens but we can find hope and peace in Jesus. 

Troy Campus

Join us Sunday night, December 5th for a Community Prayer Vigil at Kensington Church at 6:00 pm. Invite friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers to come together for a time of hope and prayer. 

Following the Vigil, at 7:00 pm, there will be breakouts for students and for parents to process and be equipped in caring for themselves and those around in times of tragedy.

Marriage Classes

What grows marriages? Focusing on the two of you and being in community!
The Marriage Course includes seven sessions, designed to help couples invest in their relationship and build a strong marriage. Some couples do the course to intentionally invest in their relationship, others are looking to address more specific challenges. Either way, the course offers essential tools and practical ideas to help you build a relationship that lasts a lifetime. The Marriage Course is based on Christian principles but designed for all couples with or without a church background.

Please email marriage@kensingtonchurch.org with any questions.

Financial Peace University (FPU)

Financial Peace University (FPU) is a catalyst to help people live in financial freedom and enable them to have a posture of openhandedness. We have witnessed numerous Kensington families experience life change as a result of applying Biblical truths to their personal finances. The real blessing is seeing people create lives of margin that allow them to hear and respond to the Lord’s calling on their lives.

Please email discipleship@kensingtonchurch.org with any questions.

Bible Basics

Whether you are brand new to the Bible or have been reading it for decades, Bible Basics is a course that will help you understand the overall flow of the Bible. Over the course of several weeks, learn how the Bible came from the original writers to the English versions we have today. We’ll look at the big-picture story of the Bible and how all the individual books add to the whole. We’ll even learn a little about the history of the Jewish nation. But most of all, we’ll grow in our awe of the amazing author of this amazing book!

Please email discipleship@kensingtonchurch.org with any questions.

All Campus

Orion

Clinton Township

Alpha

What is my purpose? What value does the Bible have in my life? How do I pray? How can I grow in confidence to share my faith? These are the big questions that are at the heart of what it means to have a relationship with God. Alpha is a space to explore life’s big questions, to say what you think and to hear other people’s points of view. Over ten-weeks you will explore and discover while listening to weekly topics, participating in table discussion, and developing community. Alpha courses meeting in-person gather around a meal.

You don’t have to come for the whole series—just check it out for the first session and see what you think. No pressure.

Please email discipleship@kensingtonchurch.org with any questions.

All Campus

Orion

Troy

Clinton Township

You will then be directed to PushPay for payment.
For additional questions, please contact giving@kensingtonchurch.org or call 248.786.0637

GROUP LEADER DEVELOPMENT

Together Again

updated June 23, 2021

It’s been life-giving to be in-person for our weekend services since last July when we reopened. If you haven’t yet, we invite you to join us in person sometime soon.

Reservations and ticketing have been discontinued at all our campuses.

Masks are optional at all services, events, and ministry gatherings for kids, students, and adults. We know that everyone needs to make the right health decisions for themselves and their family, so if you feel comfortable removing your mask, you may. And if you’d like to continue wearing a mask or face covering, you may do that as well. This is a personal choice that only you can decide what is best for yourself when attending in person at Kensington.

If you are sick, are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or have possibly been exposed to COVID-19, please plan to stay home and participate in our services via our many online streaming options.

At the start of the pandemic, Kensington’s Executive Team commissioned a group of staff members as a COVID Task Force to establish protocols and procedures for the safety of our church community. Thanks for sticking with us throughout all the changes and adjustments over the past 15 months.

We’re grateful to be together again!