Commentary: In the last few weeks we have witnessed a series of traumatic world events. The massive Texas flooding. The Florida hurricane devastation. The earthquake and loss of life in Mexico. The destruction of much of Puerto Rico. And the Las Vegas mass shooting. Any single one of these events is difficult to deal with. In so short a time, the pain and misery of all these together is almost beyond measure.
For people directly affected by these tragedies, they require as much help and support as anyone can provide. But events of this magnitude affect all of us, including those who only witness these things at a distance on television. These events shake and unnerve us. They make us feel less safe and secure. They challenge our personal beliefs. We might feel numb or disoriented. We might feel anger and helpless. In addition to these monstrous events are other agitating events of the day. Things like the NFL protests. The release of O. J. Simpson from prison. The debate over gun rights. The endless arguing over politics. The racial divide. The continuing economic pressures felt every day by families. The increasing cost of health care. The removal of good paying jobs and the disappearance of America’s former industrial base of strength. The problem of bullying in schools. And more. These are ongoing and more hidden traumas. A person may feel many things. Hurting. Confusion. Frustration. A sense of powerlessness. It can be post-traumatic stress or other reactions that require the help of a medical professional. Hurtful events chip away at our desire for a sense of order to life. These events are happening, and each of us is responding to them in more than one way at the same time. We humans want a sense of normalcy in our lives. We seek and need normal, whatever we define that to be. Modern life delivers disordering confusion and upsets our personal boundaries. People who study animals know that these creatures vigorously protect their territory. An animal can claim a certain space and will defend it from intrusion. We humans can do that in our own personal ways as well. Traumatic and agitating events intrude upon our space of territory and safety. What can we do? We remind ourselves of things we’ve probably heard before but really need to embrace now. We can listen to and support and encourage each other. We can work to stay grounded and not overwhelmed. We can keep our stress level under control. We don’t want become numb to disturbing events or become consumed by them. For those directly affected by tragedy, we can offer help in whatever ways possible. We can donate funds to organizations that handle contributions responsibly. We need to share our concerns and feelings and fears and wisdom with each other. Above all, we must hold tight to our compassion and hope for a better world. We can seek support and guidance in our source of spiritual strength. We can’t stop monstrous events from happening. But we can help those affected by them, including ourselves. We must find and draw upon the very best of our self within. We must become the best we can be.