|Art by Pamela Zagarenski, and can be found here|
I reflect back to a year ago when life was frantic, unpredictable, and had become unravelled. Days went by where I was not able to concentrate on anything, much less make a list. Our 17 year old son had just been plucked off the streets, hospitalized in cardiac arrest, and ultimately sent off to yet another rehab more than half way across the country. It would only be ten more days until his suicide attempt by hanging. The mayhem and crushing blow of how his addiction and resulting mental illness (or visa versa) took all of us down was like being hit by a tidal wave. Only, there was a small sense of seeing it coming... For the past 2 short months, we had been watching him unravel before our very eyes after returning home from 18 months in rehab.
How do we make it through the tough stuff? How do we keep our wits about us when life gives us more than we can handle? How can we stay in a place of calm determination instead of retreating in fear?
Last week, I heard Brian Williams on the nightly news reporting from his home state of New Jersey, specifically Camden – a city he called the most dangerous in America. In the report, he interviewed J. Scott Thomson, Chief of the Camden County Police Department who said this:
“This city has the most resilient people you will ever meet. All they needed was something they could hold onto, something they could trust.”
In this city, said to have the highest crime rate in the country, Chief Thomson was part of a team who helped give them something to hold on to – hiring over 200 new cops, sending them out on bikes and foot patrol, organizing kids vs. cops basketball games. Chief Thompson was in the process of rebuilding hope and trust in Camden, and it was just what the townspeople needed. They need a leader to take them to a place where they can turn away from fear, find trust, and get busy getting back to a place of normalcy.
I have spoken about leaning in to the fear before. Even if we don't have a Chief Thompson in charge, it IS possible for us do it on our own. Here is how we make it through the tough stuff: We arm ourselves in the best way possible. We find a way to hold onto ourselves.
Do we need more sleep? Take a quick nap before doing one. thing. more. Are we starved for self-soothing? Maybe it's time we take ourself out to lunch at our fav place- just you and me all alone, baby! A table for ONE! Maybe we are feeling shabby and unkempt.. (ugh, I have been there and it's not pretty!) I bet we can buy ourself something pretty that will lift our spirit... even if it costs less than $5. It's okay to do this. Really. I promise. But, maybe we are feeling so broken in spirit that we can't even begin to do anything for ourself. <Big hug to you> Do you have access to buying an app? I recommend Jesus Calling. Even if you aren't particularly religious. It works wonders for the soul. Here's the link to the daily reader app, and here's the online blog where the daily readings are posted, and the Facebook page can be found here. It's a great way to get quiet inside your soul, so you can get in touch with the deepest part of your heart, and what it is telling you. Oh. So. Important. Because your heart will be a Chief Thompson for you, and gently guide you back to a place of trust.
Keep pressing on, Friend. This troubled day will not harm you. You have been through trouble before and you will get through this too. Take a deep breath, and give that trouble a big hard look. And tell that trouble that it will not get the best of you today!
PS. The other thing we can do is to needle felt. It has worked wonders for me!!!