Sandy Hang-over

I find myself crying a lot this week. I do not like to write this, but the counselors tell me that it is good to talk about our pain. The hurricane and its aftermath often feels overwhelming. I am sure I do not need to list all the reasons why. And now that the power is back we are all trying to get caught up on the work that has been waiting for us the past two weeks. None of that went away. It feels like two weeks have disappeared. I am just so sad for all the people who have lost homes and lives and livelihoods. For all the people who lost power and classroom instruction, and scheduled activities, and family parties. For all of us who lost levels of emotional security and trust. The list goes on and on. I guess the shrinks are right—it is good to talk about it, and to cry about it.

It is hard for me to find comfort in the thought that others had it worse than me. I just feel bad for them, and no better for me. It seems like an excuse to minimize my own pain. Denial is sometimes effective, but seldom a good long-term strategy. It always seems to come back and bite you you-know-where.

It also does not help that the hurricane seems to have given us permission to eat more junk, drink more alcohol, and exercise less. There are a lot of techniques to minimize pain that help for awhile, but may also become part of the problem.

Here are some things I am going to try to start doing:

Take care of myself: This hurricane is going to around for a long time. It will be here in the piles of trees and leaves. It will be here in the children not sleeping well. It will be here in the shudder when we hear the wind blow hard. It will be here in the lawsuits, and insurance settlements, and investigations, and the incrimination. It will not leave. We need to shift from the short term mode in which we do whatever it takes to remain sane to the long-term view in which we stay healthy in order to be able to create a healthy community.

Help someone else: There are plenty of opportunities for this. Just remember that it is not all dependent on you. Do your small part and take great satisfaction in your work.

Talk with someone: Or maybe write a blog entry. And do not forget, Sunday during coffee hour is a great time to catch up with friends.

Pray a lot: Pray for recovery for others, pray for peace of mind. Pray for health. The action of praying itself has a calming effect on our bodies and mind and the focus of God’s spirit on our communities will help in the healing.

Accept help: You probably need it, we all do, and not only will you feel better, but the one giving it will as well.

Give thanks for the little things: How many things can I be thankful for in a day? One of my teachers said over a million. I have never counted, but I am sure he was right.

Give thanks to God: Not for surviving the storm, but for the strength and capacity to go forward as loving, compassionate, caring people who will create a more secure community so that when nature comes calling again we will be ready.

Thanks for listening. Give me a call when you want to talk.

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