Pain and Possibility: Finding Our Way Through Difficult Times
I’ve been really weary with all of the things that have been going on in the world.
The violence and unrest and waking up to the next awful thing unfolding on the news and on social media is wearing me out. I can’t help but to be hurt, I can’t help but to care.
I can’t help but to be angry and helpless all at the same time. I’m mad because as a former journalist, I’m seeing a lot of irresponsible things happening with words, images and sounds.
I’m questioning everything, I’m mad about situations that are well within our control as a society and the things we’ve allowed to be out of control.
There are discussions of accountability and change, and I listened to a very interesting message given passionately by the pastor at church yesterday, how starting change with us as an individual is extremely difficult, so when we expect governments, institutions and entire systems to just do it overnight we’re reaching.
He didn’t say change wouldn’t happen, he just said that it does take time. I took something from that. We curse the pace of change and we get frustrated with those who don’t get it and don’t help us move fast enough, especially if we have the means to.
The second thing that kind of hit me was, usually we don’t have a problem with other people changing something we’ve pointed out is a flaw. And we may even recognize areas where we need to change. We may have a list of things some are easy, but there’s usually ONE thing that’s required of us, that may be a large sacrifice, inconvenience or act of faith and we say “I’ll do anything, but I won’t or can’t do that.”
The pastor continued to say how pain is often involved with change and usually serves as the catalyst for change to happen. The discomfort of our pain drives us to do what it takes to seek relief.
I’m awful at swallowing large pills. But it seems the times that I’ve been very sick, or in a lot of pain, I’ve managed to get them down if they were directly involved with even the slightest improvement.
But this is a human issue. It’s something we all have to look at and deal with.
I have a cousin who is in town. And I’ve been analyzing a lot of things about him, his choices, the hopes he has. And upon further discovery unpeeling other layers about his world living in a southern town with not a lot of options and how our lives are so different, based on decisions our mothers made respectively.
Where you live, where you go to school, who is your advocate and how powerful your advocates are dictate where you’ll go. It is unfair, because countless people who were brilliant and wonderful and could give something to the world may have lived and died in poverty in some far off place we’ve never heard of, or right around the corner in a community that is overlooked and looked down upon.
There’s fate, there’s belief in hard work and timing. There’s figuring out it’s all in who you know, which has contributed to most of my most amazing opportunities and experiences hands down. It was up to me to prepare myself for the experiences, but I had to somehow get connected. I had to express my need, and that if given the chance I could take it and run with it.
I had to establish a track record with people where they’d want to vouch for me.
Sometimes I feel small and insignificant. I think a lot of us feel that way these days.
I’ve been in deep conversations with the people I love talking about what we’re supposed to do about all of this trouble in the world.
I’ve tried to comfort and fire myself up by reminding myself that we all have a lane.
We all have gifts and talents and we can’t confine ourselves to fit into the one thing that a whole bunch of people deem is the one or two or even three possible ways to solve a problem.
You have to go with what fits, you have to go with something that you’ll want to be consistent with.
So if you are a writer, I say, write. Write about your pain. Then write about possibilities. This blog helps me.
If you are a doctor or medical professional, don’t dismiss your work as a service to the community because you do it everyday and get paid for it. You have a talent and a skill to heal people, that’s your lane.
If you love to cook, cook for people who need it. A good meal from the heart means a lot to people.
If you are a good listener, listen to people who are hurting. Sometimes people just need to vent and feel like they have been heard.
Do you play sports? Round up some folks and play a game.
Like kids, help your friends who have kids and babysit.
Give money to an organization that does things that you support and believe in.
Sit down with someone and share knowledge if they are up for it.
We limit ourselves, and we judge others based on what we think they are doing or not doing. We judge people about how aware we think they should be. We judge and judge and judge but we never have all of the information.
I continue to be really weary and anxious. I’m trying to keep grasp of a faith I often question, trying to map out the difference between what I truly believe from what I’ve been told to believe and reconciling what’s in between and if that is my truest belief and if that’s what God really wants me to find and connect to at the end of the day.
It doesn’t help that I’m on the hunt for a new job, with a very specific deadline.
I seriously wish I could take a week or two to simply rest and get my life together (preferably someplace tropical). But I don’t have that luxury. I have so many thoughts in my head and heart. I want to be better. But I have so many questions. And I wonder if what I have will be enough. And as one person, maybe I’m not supposed to be enough. I’m stardust in a vast unlimited sky. But if we all at least try, with real intention and from a place of honesty and humility, we’ll fill in the gaps together and where one falls short, it won’t matter.
I know I’m not the only one.