What’s Wrong with This Picture?
To some, this is a picture of trees; nice trees and greenery. To someone who knows, these trees are being overrun with a destructive vine called kudzu. This plant grows so densely and rapidly, that it overwhelms the trees underneath it by blocking out the sun light. The trees die.
The past few years, we have shared a “kudzu-like” experience. The pandemic quickly overwhelmed the “normal” lives of people all over the world. There was no way to escape our shared nightmare. The sunlight was blocked out. We didn’t perish, but it did drastically alter our landscape.
Serious disruptions to our daily lives (work, home, school, schedules, relationships) still profoundly affect most of us. We have been fighting the kudzu with a pair of scissors; it grows faster than we can cut it down. Uncertainty, which is normal, has now crept into every part of our lives and overwhelmed many of us.
In the Best of Times
We each flail and fumble to move through our lives. Progress comes in fits and starts. We somehow find our way out of the darkness and onto the next plateau/resting spot on the journey. We find others who share our experiences in school, work, growing older, but we each have our own physical, psychological and spiritual path. Growth to the next step is not always pretty or steady, but we’ve seen others do it, we muddle through with a little help from friends and faith and whatever else we can find.
Second Half of 2022
At the roughest times of my life, I have felt that my feet are standing on two separate techtonic plates that are crashing together so hard, it’s like surfing on an earthquake. How can I be expected to grow, heal and support others in the middle of that?
I equate where we are now with some combination of kudzu and shifting earth plates. Things are changing in pressure-filled ways and at a speed that is just beyond my grasp. I’d like to think that… now that the pandemic is ‘over’, that life will return to some kind of normal. It may seem hard to believe, but it will return.
I notice people are out of sorts, cranky one minute and then exuberant the next. Joy and fear live much closer together in my heart than I have ever experienced in the past.
Suggestions for Finding Some Serenity
I prefer to seek serenity than happiness. Serenity, to me, means that as I survey my world (home, community, country, planet), I sense what I can control and what I can’t. I accept that for 24 hours at a time, this is what is meant to be. I focus on the things I can change and manage: my attitude, how well I treat myself (food, rest, relaxation, work, being of service to others) and what’s good in the world. Not in an idealist/fake way, but in a realistic way. There is so much good being done by individuals and groups, every day all over the world.
I hope you are finding your way. I hope you are being kind, very kind, to yourself. If you are irritable or afraid, I hear you. If you feel lost or confused, that is a rational response to the current situation. May you find some serenity in your day. May we all find a way to be kind to each other and believe in the goodness of the world. I stand with you.
Image Credit: Kudzu in Tennessee 2021