In the midst of it all
It’s tough to feel better when you’re experiencing terror and uncertainty. It’s tough to feel better when we are bombarded at every turn with some sort of …
It’s tough to feel better when you’re experiencing terror and uncertainty. It’s tough to feel better when we are bombarded at every turn with some sort of gut-wrenching news. With the recent Uvalde school shooting, we are collectively traumatized.
This morning, I stop myself from reading a detailed description of the attack. I do not want those details in my head. I choose to hold the images of the beautiful children holding certificates, surrounded by their loving families. If there’s any consolation to this senseless awful violence, it is that those children had a day when they were amazingly honored and celebrated for their accomplishments. I am heartbroken for the families and the survivors of this trauma.
Our world is ablaze with frenetic energy that is popping out in the most awful evil ways. How can I feel better in this world?
This morning, I felt compelled to clean out and organize the large over-the-shoulder knapsack bag that I carry. Within its numerous pockets, it holds all that I need. It needed a good cleaning out.
To give you an idea of what I am carrying: I have a an orange traffic vest, portable spikes to go over my boots in winter, hand sanitizer, stain remover stick, vaccination card, bug net that goes over a hat, garden gloves, reusable grocery bags, a full-service camera, extra pair of glasses, reporters’ notebook, pens, face mask, and the usual purse stuff: keys, wallet, checkbook, phone, phone charger, cables. It’s organized and neat now and, with that, I feel a little more grounded.
Perhaps I feel better because it gives me a modicum of control. Still, there is something about neatness that clears the slate. I remember my summers as a camp counselor or when I went off to seminary. In those instances, I had very few belongings, yet had everything I needed.
In reducing the clutter, I am trying to feel better.
Feeling better these days is measured in small ways. It is paying attention and making sure I leave on time so as to not be stressed. It is driving the speed limit. It’s about being more deliberate about where I put my phone, or any other belonging, so that I am not frantic when I can’t immediately find it. It is taking pleasure in remembering someone’s birthday, or sharing the abundance of rhubarb or asparagus that is growing in my garden.
These are small steps that honor my integrity and my connection to myself and others. This is what I can do to make sure that I am able to synthesize the awful news of the day and be a positive force to counteract it.
I was proud of my husband Stephen when he announced on Wednesday morning that he would take some sick days to process the news of the Texas school shooting. As grandparents of young children, this shooting incident is particularly terrifying. And I’m glad that he has taken the time to deal with his profound deep feelings.
This time we give ourselves, this care, gives us the space to explore our feelings, grieve with them, honor them and move steadily toward feeling better. We do this not to avoid what is painful, but rather to give it meaning.
If your life is anything like mine, we are all doing too much in too little time. However, the one thing we can do is to honor those efforts and understand that our frustration, grief, anger and deep sorrow is because we care. Feeling better means showing up in the world more whole. More balanced. We do that by honoring the trauma, the loss, the grief and re-centering ourselves in love and a commitment to positive action.
“I Just Wanna Feel Better” is a monthly health-reflection column by Rev. Laurie Stuart. The goal of the column is to connect readers who want to explore and create community and change around their own well-being.
Read more in this series on Laurie’s Publisher’s Log, at riverreporter.com/publishers-log/.
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