Over the last few years I have often found myself asking, "When are the adults coming?" Things that used to be off my radar screen have been brought to the surface. In the past, there were so many things I could ignore because someone else was handling them, someone whose expertise it was to do so. I was able to overlook some of the trending fear of the news because I felt others were in charge who would direct those things in the way they needed to go. Despite the politics and the crazy-making, I could still trust that there were "adults" in charge and things would work out. These days, it feels like there are no adults coming. We are constantly bombarded with worst case scenarios that leave us worrying (and rightfully so) about everything from our rights to our safety to monkey pox to murder hornets. Today I even read an article about giant slugs in Florida that "spew parasitic brain worms." Ya'll, I can't. I just can't. When are the adults coming? I'm working on my stuff and doing my job - I need others to do theirs.
As individuals we can't be in charge of everything. As Carolyn Joyce says in When the State of the World Overwhelms You, "It’s hard enough to sum up a week in one’s own, immediate life, but when you pair that with world news that can feel simultaneously ungraspable and deeply personal, it’s easy to become completely disoriented. The latest headlines can spark feelings of fear, anger, and shock accompanied by an indefinite idea of what to do with these feelings... It’s easy to spend time lamenting over the past or catastrophizing about the future. But one lesson that mindfulness teaches us is how to reap the rewards of living in the present. Most of the time, our current experience doesn’t match the messages we’re sending ourselves or the scary stories we’re telling. If we check in with ourselves, we may find that, right here in this moment, we’re actually okay."
So, what do we do? How do we manage all the fear, take action that actually helps and honors others, and have conversations that matter in a space that feels safe? Tim Desmond suggests we start with a meditation exercise in How to Avoid Feeling Defeated in Today’s Crazy World. Desmond says to take intentional time to focus on three things: the part of life that's beautiful, the part of life that's painful, and to "stay human, even when other people suck" - meaning, sometimes it is just really hard to get along.
Protect your kindness, your integrity, and your soft heart. It is what helps us stay human. Proverbs 4:23 says, Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Pause. Take a deep breath. Focus on what you CAN affect. Pray for the "adults," wherever they are, whose responsibility it is to handle those things that are often out of our sphere of influence. And - do what you can in your circle of influence to make a positive impact on a hurting world.
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