Can we even begin to do that? To make human sense of awe-inspiring in the most heart breaking way events like what happened in Moore ,OK yesterday.
Or when your dearest loved one dies too early from cancer?
Or some other throat catching experience that sneaks up on you?
I am not sure I know the right answer for every one, but I have found one for me.
Things are tolerable when you believe that something bigger and greater universally connecting us ALL in the world. That things are OK when you do your best to bring something positive into the world, grandly or discretely, despite circumstances.
You, we all, are charged and challenged to bring something beneficial to the world. Something fine, kind and compassionate. Something drawn from the very best of you.
Even when you think you cannot.
Because you may not feel you can now, but tomorrow, or next week or 7 months from today you will be able to draw from that well-spring deep down in your being.The place where courage and compassion converge. Where hope slumbers and zest develops.
Some of us are made to act in the immediate aftermath of emergencies. Other of us to act in the days weeks and months to come. We need both types of folks. Tragedies may happen in a short moment, but they linger.
And you need to feel there is meaning and purpose in your efforts. Intuitively we know that’s true.
But sometimes it’s hard to feel like what you do matters in the faces of something so large. And in the face of some many events, Boston, Joplin, Sandy Hook. . . your flow of compassion can begin to run dry.
In the early 1990’s I was in graduate school and working in HIV/AIDS Service agencies. I did research on the relationship between burnout, grief and meaning among people working in the field. I confirmed that people who, even a small way, can see how their efforts adding to something bigger greater and good are able to keep hopeful and compassionate, in some of the most heavy, trying circumstances.
Your fine, kind compassionate thing maybe to help round-up supplies to send to Oklahoma. Or to offer your services as a counselor. Or to host a fundraiser.
Or maybe it is to help the man you see in the store parking lot juggling a kid, a cart, in the rain without an umbrella.
Or to sing your grandchild to sleep over the telephone.
And definitely it is to look at the people around you in their eyes smile, and let you know you see them. As my friend Tim says, to choose love.
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Deirdre Danahar works creative professional ready to do their best work without sacrificing their quality of life. She is the owner of InMotion Consulting & Coaching, based in Jackson, MS. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.