Signs of Hope-March 31, 2020

03.31.20 | by Suzanne Bernet

    There’s Room for More Than One Emotion

    Have you ever seen the movie Steel Magnolias? It requires Kleenex, but it’s also one of my favorites. Strong women are celebrated as they build a community of love, joy, humor, grief and tragedy. One line from that movie rings particularly true for me: “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” This summarizes well a part of my weekend. My husband was upstairs in his office riding his bike that goes nowhere and I was in the kitchen trying a new plant-based recipe. (Yup, we’re both trying to be more healthy, especially during this stay-at-home time.)

    While puttering, my brain turned to a daily habit of mine lately – reminding myself of the small gifts in my life. I listed a few in my head. Said one out loud. And then saw an email from a colleague alerting me to a hateful act in Woodbury. One neighbor had posted a vile note on another neighbor’s door blaming them for the virus. So then, also out loud, “I’m so sick of trying to be hopeful!” I cried a little, forced myself to pray for the hateful neighbor and took a deep breath. It took quite some time for calm to come. It did, though, with a text from a faraway friend that made me laugh through the tears.  

    There are so many lessons for us all to learn in the midst of this pandemic. Here’s one for you to ponder today: There’s room in our hearts and in our heads for more than one emotion. Give yourself permission to feel a whole list of things at once. This meditation by Lisa Olivera that’s been flying around Facebook lately may help:

    We (all of us) are currently going through a collective traumatic experience. Trauma is often thought of as “too much, too fast,” which is exactly what’s happening. Of course you’re exhausted. Of course you’re afraid. Of course you’re overwhelmed. Of course you’re clinging to certainty in the midst of so much unknown. Of course you aren’t as productive, feeling foggy, or wondering how you can possibly go through so many waves of emotion all in the same day. This all makes so much sense in the context of our circumstances. Be gentle with yourself. Have compassion for your process. Give yourself grace. You are good, no matter how you are managing this completely new experience.

    Speaking only for myself, I feel better just reading that. Know that I am praying for you all.  

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