Does your Emotional State feel more unstable now, as the crisis ends? I am thinking about the global Pandemic and the move by many countries toward what has been called a new normal. But my question is prompted by a personal experience to which you might relate.
The aisle was extremely crowded at the Super Center as my four-year-old daughter and I turned down it. I let go of her hand and stretched to reach an item I wanted from the top shelf. Oops, not that one, I needed the one just on the other side of the shopper on my right. I waited for him to move and stood on my tiptoes to grab it. I turned back toward my child, but she was no longer there. I called out for her and waited for her response, but none came.
I hurried to the next aisle and the next, and the next, looking past and through the throng of people, hoping to see her little blonde head. I wanted to scream. I was tempted to yell at the shopper who’d been in my way. I felt like a bubbling cauldron inside. My face was hot, and I was embarrassed for not paying enough attention and mad at my daughter for wandering off.
I hoped she’d wandered off and not been taken… No! I couldn’t think about that. I pleaded with God to keep His eyes on her and bring her back to me.
Finally, I found an employee who used her store radio to enlist help. There was an almost unbearable tightness in my chest, but I gulped it down and stayed focused. There was a crisis and I needed to be alert.
After what seemed much longer than it probably was, there came a voice over the walkie-talkie that a child had been found who matched the description I’d given. Simultaneously, a woman came around the corner, speaking those words into her hand-held device. In her other hand, she held the hand of my little girl.
I was so relieved! I ran, fully aware that I was running in the store and not able to control my sudden energy. I collapsed onto my knees to be the same size as my daughter and gathered her in my arms. I was sobbing. My emotional state felt more unstable now that the crisis was over.
In an eruption of emotions, I experienced everything I had been forcing back. Fear, anger, embarrassment, worry, panic – it all gushed forward, bubbled over, and then receded into gratitude. I wondered if I’d ever be able to pry myself off of my stunned little girl.
This experience has come to mind quite a bit lately. The Pandemic was gut-wrenching, yet throughout the crisis, I witnessed resolve. I saw bravery and self-control. There was grief, loss and intense fear and yet people were resolute. There was a crisis to overcome.
Many of the mandates related to the Pandemic were lifted today, where I live. Fewer people are sick, and many are fully vaccinated. But I wonder, as the crisis ends, and the threat declines does our collective emotional state feel more unstable? Has anyone experienced it this way?
I look around and see so much that seems out of control. There is unsurpassed division, aggression, sadness, frustration, confusion and exasperation. Perhaps more concerning is the growing apathy toward things which were once meaningful or sacred.
I’ve heard the explanation that people have forgotten how to behave in public. Do you think that is the case? Would people, who remember how to ride a bike after several years without practice, really forget how to treat each other in eighteen months?
I am praying that these emotions are just erupting now because they can. I know the Pandemic was much more brutal and long-lasting than my experience of briefly losing my daughter, so it stands to reason that it may take longer to fully vent our feelings. But I am hopeful that soon, our unstable emotional state is going find its footing and melt into matchless gratitude.
I know that might sound like ‘pie in the sky’ thinking or an overly optimistic idea. In all fairness, that is how my mind works. But it makes sense, right? I am not ready to give up on us – the people who occupy planet earth today, who have been through so much, who individually want to emerge from this crisis victoriously.
Collectively, we are the sum of our parts. What if you and I decided to be more mindful of our unstable emotional state? As the crisis ends, there will be an initial adjustment to the relief we feel. But let’s not linger there, acting on the ugly emotions that emerge. As the saying goes:
“It’s ok to not be ok, but it’s not ok to stay that way.”Author unknown
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 8:37-39
Let’s choose together to express the pervasive gratitude that we also feel. There have been hard things. We’ve lost and sacrificed and grieved. But we have been given another day and it has dawned in glory. If you and I can look to Jesus and grab hold of His promises, we can start springs of His goodness flowing into the instability. I believe it will be well received because our world is parched and yearning for refreshment.
“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.”2 Thessalonians 1:11
Does your emotional state feel more unstable now as the crisis ends? It’s okay! Lean in! Feel it out. But don’t act upon that which surfaces first. Let’s wade through to the good stuff and spread that! We get to shape our new normal. Let’s make it better than before. We’ve paid a hefty price. We should have something great to show for it! What are your thoughts?