I started writing this newsletter article on the morning of Tuesday May 24. At that time, I was feeling grief and anger over the racist mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, and the leaked draft Supreme Court decision overturning Roe V. Wade. I was thinking a lot about the toll it takes on our spirits when we are constantly reading and absorbing news stories that break our hearts. I was starting to write a message to this community about these topics. Later that day, I saw the headlines about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Before I had had time and space to process two devastating events, I learned of another horrific tragedy. Dear God, I wondered, how can we hold all of this grief? What do we do with this pain? We are called, again and again, to bear witness to the brokenness of this world, and it is taking an enormous toll on our mental and spiritual health. We are constantly being flooded with information that our bodies, minds and spirits are not equipped to deal with.
It is comforting to me to remember that this is not a new struggle. People at many different times in history have faced horrific events, and they have found a way to be hopeful after the unthinkable has happened. For example, in the 1960s, the United States was fighting a war in Vietnam. At that time Americans saw and heard news that conveyed the death, suffering and destruction that was happening as a result of the war. People all across the United States watched the news, absorbed the information, processed it, and decided how they would respond. Some of them protested what they saw as an injustice, and their efforts helped push the United States to end the war.
Here we are in 2022, grieving the losses we see in the world, raging against injustice and oppression in so many forms. Yet we are a part of a long history of people who have seen injustice and unnecessary suffering, acknowledged it, and come together to fight it. That makes me feel less alone, and makes the challenges ahead of us seem less daunting.
It is perfectly OK to not feel OK right now. We are reeling from so much bad news for such an extended period of time. It is an act of survival and an act of resistance to care for your spirit in this time of chaos. As always, I encourage you to do the things that help you reconnect with the spirit of life. I say this over and over, because we need to be reminded over and over. I share with you the words of Barabara Kingsolver who writes the following: “In my own worst seasons I’ve come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again.”