I am thoroughly enjoying Jan Richardson books lately. Richardson is an artist, poet and ordained minister. In her latest book, “Circle of Grace” I was struck by a poem entitled, A Blessing for Traveling in the Dark. Here is an excerpt:
“But this is what I can ask for you:
That in the darkness
there be a blessing.
That in the shadows
there be a welcome.
That in the night
you be encompassed,
by the love that knows your name.”
This poem really moved me, but the last stanza was particularly comforting. As a therapist, I meet people in their darkest moments, and it can be gut-wrenching to hear stories of pain and witness the struggles of another human being. I often explain to my clients that I cannot offer all the answers, but I will shine a light to guide them as they take each step. Everyone’s path is unique, and my role is to provide the light when all they can see is misery and pain.
What makes a good therapist is the ability to be in the darkness with your client, and to continue to be a light for each patient as they navigate the healing process.
Find your light or be the light someone is in need of during their darkest times.
In light of the recent shooting in Oregon, I have noticed a general feeling of defeat in the wake of this tragedy. People are beginning to feel overwhelmed by the number of shootings and our inability to stop them. It seems too easy to buy a gun and this fact leaves us all feeling vulnerable.
As a parent, President Obama, immediately pictured himself caught in the heart-wrenching aftermath of a shooting. We all did. How do we cope with the uncertainty and the continued images of pain and suffering that could easily affect our families?
Some people choose to cope by ignoring this crisis, because it’s too difficult to process and it’s something that we have absolutely no control over. We think that we’re ignoring the problem, yet we’re a nation full of anxious, hyper vigilant, over-medicated individuals. This is most evident in our youth.
Our children suffer the most. They bear the burden of a nation that will not protect them from mass shooters. Our government’s refusal to enact common sense gun laws deprives our children of a carefree childhood. Young adults are busy dealing with the effects of an overspent economy, crushing student loan debt and the uncertainty of landing a job in their field. How can we, as parents, help our children at a time like this?
One thing I know for sure is this, we can easily become consumed by the darkness if we allow ourselves to be. Instead, we must consciously look toward the light and the luminaries — those people who shine a light amid the darkness. People are naturally drawn to the Pope, the Dali Lama, and even Oprah for comfort. Why? Because we lean on those who have the best interests of the people at heart and who provide hope for humanity. We realize that goodness and kindness are the only keys to escaping this crushing weight of hatred, violence and self-serving interests of politicians.
To move forward, we must act on this knowledge and teach our children how to do the same. This requires mindful consciousness. When we realize that companies, politicians, and the media respond to our demands, we can make better decisions. What we watch, click on, purchase and consume directly affects whether these sources supply us with goodness or negativity. Each decision is a vote. Each moment requires us to make a choice to support what we want for our children, family and friends.
We are naturally drawn to stories and products that feed our fears, but we must make choices to constantly look toward the light for the sake of our children – the most vulnerable members of any society. Every choice we make matters.