I’ve been absent from writing here for a few months. At first, I was overwhelmed with work and then, more recently, I’ve felt stuck every time I try to write. I know how healing this process has been in the past for me, so I want to at least post here and there even it is to say that I don’t know what to say.
I am struggling on a daily basis with feelings of judgment. I feel so angry at others for not doing their part in facing what we are dealing with as a country and as part of the human race. My rage shields me from the helplessness of the moment in which we are living (at least in the U.S.). I cannot control so much of the systems that are failing the most vulnerable at every turn.
I’m someone who can’t shut off from reality for very long because I fear losing myself back into a state of denial as I did in regards to the abuse I endured as a child. Oppression and the genocide of indifference sit with me. I feel called to hold vigil for all whom we are losing and who have been lost. I want to hold space for the collective suffering that is upon us. Only then will my rage be transformed into whatever grace finds me.
I don’t “suffer” from the optimism bias that most non-depressed people enjoy. This means I don’t tend to look the bright side or attend to the positives in tragedy. I spend a good deal of time on this blog making space for my efforts to find that for which I’m grateful; for me, it has to be an intentional and deliberate process or it won’t happen. I firmly believe, though, that finding reasons for joy and laughter need to exist alongside, not in replacement, of the ability to feel sadness as it happens.
My grief at this moment is a witnessed grief more than a personal one; I am not in mourning for the ways in which I’ve been personally impacted by the pandemic, but more for the global losses that have happened and the havoc it is beginning to cause in the lives of people for whom I care. What I lack in “be hopeful” I replace with “be prepared;” I tend to lean too heavily into the idea that, as long as all contingencies are measured and mitigated, true tragedy can be averted.
I’m living in a moment, however, where this can-do attitude is failing as my national leaders prioritize the wealthiest among us over the rest. Horrible, unfathomable and potentially preventable things are starting to happen to good people on a scale I didn’t know could occur, coupled with with no one in leadership providing comfort and guidance. This is both the oldest story of my life and also the one that feels freshly terrifying; I knew this could happen to me (childhood trauma), but I didn’t know it could happen to everyone (save the moneyed).
All I know to do when loss occurs is to make space for it, to honor what is being missed and to mourn with those from whom treasures of love are being pilfered. Grief, in my mind’s eye, is a well of cold water, into which that which we deem precious can sink but from which no reflection gleams. I know that, in due time, some will find renewal there as they reconstruct their lives. Maybe bearing witness to grief is nothing more than keeping a fire going by the depths, allowing for the awareness that rage and fear and all the strong feelings that make us want to flee that place of loss are allowed here and matter here. What are you grieving today? What is fanning the flames of your emotions? What is slipping into the bleakness?