How to take the next crisis in stride

The world reopened but then it shut down again.

The smoke cleared but then came another hazy day.

The heat dissipated but then came another high-temperature, red flag warning wave.

Are you in the camp who continues to think, “It will pass. It will pass”?

When it passes, do you breathe a sigh of relief and say, “Okay, good, that’s over with”?

Or are you in the camp who says, “It figures this would happen now” or “just our luck.”

And when it passes, then say, “well, what bad thing will happen next?” or find it difficult just to believe the bad thing has actually passed, sitting waiting for it to come again.

Our minds try to grapple with the uncertainty of life. We like certainty. We want to know that if I do x, y, and z, then I will find peace, security and happiness; I will be safe.

But life keeps coming, making it seem impossible to find security and hold on it.

Often we look at the intense waves, the storms, the dark times as things to just be gotten through, grit our teeth, hold on, white knuckle it and press on till it passes.

This works most of the time.

Until it doesn’t. Until the waves come one after another, until the storms pile high, until the air is so full of smoke the meters tell us it is hazardous to breathe outside, until we have gone seven months without hugging our loved ones who live beyond the boundaries of our homes.

Then comes the time to figure out a plan of action because sitting and waiting no longer works. The emotional reservoir is drained. The energy is depleted.

Then comes the time when we must face facts.

Life is uncertain.

Maze
Photo by Luemen Carlson on Unsplash

And yet, there still must be a way to live it because people have thrived and succeeded in great things despite the uncertainty of life. Imagine all those great achievements before modern medicine and technology? They had fires and pandemics then, too.

We risk never believing the good thing is actually here. We risk never accepting the easier moments when they change place with the difficult. In making the effort to predict what will happen next or how long things will last, we risk never focusing on the moment…right…now.

This is the first task to finding peace in the midst of uncertainly, legitimate worries, righteous anger and ongoing grief.

The present moment is what we have. We must find a way to accept that this moment is what we have in our possession. The future has not yet come. We cannot control it when it does come. It does us less good to spend our energy trying to predict what it will look like when it does come.

And when we accept its presence, we can look at the present moment and say, “What is there for me here?

What meaning can I find? What purpose can I find?”

Patience.

Solidarity with those suffering directly from natural disasters.

Delayed gratification at the never-ending California heat when all of social media and the Midwest have entered autumn.

There are ways you and I can grow in those good qualities called virtues during this crazy year.

And there is a purpose we can discover in it as well, a mission we can support.

Are politics your passion? Maybe finding a way to keep politics civil and allow for actual nonjudgmental listing, conversation and view sharing – but avoid social media, aka, the pit of anger and despair.

Is community your passion? Support, volunteer for and attend events that are still happening like the Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Find a way to further cultural traditions like Halloween or Thanksgiving within your comfort zone and safety precautions.

Every day is an invitation for us to grow.

That invitation begins with learning to take what comes as it comes, and make the best of it, to the betterment of our hearts, our families and our communities.

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