The time between – dealing with emotional distress

Living with sudden family grief and anger at world events means balance maybe more difficult to maintain. Grief needs to be felt and anger worked through. What can I/we do? Here’s a few things that have worked for me.

  1. Cry. Yes, let the tears flow. Tears can be a watershed for so many feelings. Cleansing and even exhausting – leading to a deeper sleep. Perhaps don’t stay in this mode for too long. Once cried out perhaps more water would be helpful: shower, bathe, swim etc.
  2. Fresh air. Get outside of the home. Breathe deeply.
  3. Sing. Sad songs that help emote the feelings. Songs that create energy in you. Dance, move the body, keep time with the music. Old favourites or newly created ones, any music that helps you to feel and lift the soul.
  4. Read. Nonsense, romance, historical fiction, fantasy – so many to choose from that can take you away for a while. Read about knights, wizards, space travel, what ever peaks your curiosity.
  5. Watch. Sappy movies, funny TV. Old sitcoms get me every time. Some, “I love Lucy” or “Carol Burnett” have me laughing out loud.
  6. Give. Be thankful for all that is good and abundant in your life. Acknowledge the food you eat, the bed that you sleep in, the friends and family that care for you, for all of life.
  7. Begin. Start the list again if needed.

In the midst of all of this pray. Pray in the sorrow. Pray through the anger. Whatever you do pray. Prayer helps us to focus all the ugly and painful moments and memories. For some this may seem unattainable or trite but in my experience prayer fills a void that nothing can.

Perhaps none of these are helpful for you. The list comes from my own experience. I’ve made many mistakes and continually learn from them and the new ones that I create. I’ve also been blessed by family, love, vocation, and a creative spirit.

May you find ways to walk through these dark days; the injustice in the world; the feelings of hopelessness. Know, you are loved.

Blessings,

Barbara

What day is it?

Saturdays have often felt weird to me. Many people enjoy the weekend off from work; not quite the same now.

As a minister/preacher I have found, and still today, a difficulty in the concept of a day off. Saturdays are often filled with anxiety about worship coming on Sunday. Questions of am I ready, does the message make sense to me, and will it make sense to others, flood over me. Anxiety creeps in. I can “put the sermon to bed” and leave it there but as a creative I’m constantly rethinking and tweaking a turn of phrase here and perhaps adding a poem or a quotation there. The sermon never feels done.

In normal life I would preach three services each week which gives me the opportunity to finesse the message after each one. I would have time to work with the congregation who are present. Now with only one service and online complications, I feel like I’m preaching to myself. Perhaps that is exactly what I’m doing. Perhaps that is exactly what I need.

Be not afraid is my mantra these days. Reminding myself that I have no reason to fear. God is with me. God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.

May your Saturday be exactly what is needed for you today, this moment.

Blessings always

Barbara