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Finding Hope in a World That's Falling Apart

Lately I’ve been feeling as if the world is a ceramic globe being chipped away piece by piece. With every devastating piece of news, a little bit more is chipped away. It makes you wonder how long before everything we know is simply lying in pieces. I find myself asking the question: will we ever feel whole again?

Not only has our nation weathered a worldwide pandemic, mounting political tensions, police brutality, but now, multiple mass shootings claiming the lives of grandparents and children. It makes me wonder how much more can we, as a nation, take?

It’s no wonder this past month has been hard. I find myself unable to focus, easily distracted, unable to feel present, and with a weightiness that I simply cannot shake. I can get frustrated, wondering why I can’t simply rebound and carry on with the life in front of me- with the job that needs to be done, with the house that needs to be cleaned, with the meals that need to be cooked, and with a family that needs my attention.

Then I remember that our hearts weren’t meant to carry this much grief. We are not meant to process this much pain. We live in a world in which devastation is a norm, and suffering is an ever present reality, and despite all that, human beings cannot adapt or evolve ourselves out of pain.

We don’t grow numb. We are still shocked, still surprised when awful things happen. We still fall apart, and when we don’t, it’s more concerning than when we do.

So if you, like me, find yourself carrying the weight of grief in the face of pain, here are a few things to remember.

Let yourself feel…

Feelings get a bad rap in our culture. In an attempt not to over indulge in our feelings, or to escape facing what might cause us pain, we prefer to pretend that the way we feel does not exist. However, God made us with emotions for a reason. Letting ourselves feel, helps us not only to face our pain, but to face the reality that we live in a broken world. This is the essence of grieving.

Grieving is coming to terms with what was lost. We often can’t find our way forward until we acknowledge the depth of what was lost. With national tragedies, we can find ourselves grieving the lives taken, the families that must now live with the unexpected and violent loss, the sense of safety that’s been robbed, the failure of trusted officials or systems to prevent the tragedy, the loss of a sense of certainty and control, the level of hate it takes to carry out this much evil, or even the political fallout of a country unable to problem solve in ways that create effective change.

It is ok to mourn these things, and it’s normal NOT to feel normal.

Let yourself talk about it…

Whether it’s to a family member, a trustworthy friend, or a professional, you have to talk about what’s going on in your internal world. Our people might not have all the answers, but answers aren’t always the point.

Some things are unexplainable. Some pain is simply too much to make sense of, but allowing ourselves to be comforted by the presence of those who love us is part of how we heal.

Remember there is a way forward…

This is the hardest part. The way forward cannot be overly simplified. Loss is a weighty thing deserving of more respect than high minded platitudes or callous minimizations. I can’t lie to you. What was lost cannot be replaced or recovered. The weight of loss does not become smaller, instead, we are the ones who grow around the grief. We find ways to endure, and often this calls for different ways of being.

I don’t know what your way forward looks like. It might look like taking action to ensure our public spaces are safer places. It might look like donating to the families of the victims. It might simply look like being more present with your own loved ones because tomorrow is never promised.

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