“How do we react when bad things happen?” This question has been on my mind lately. It popped up earlier this summer when Night, my sweet ewe, died unexpectedly. Not too long afterwards I had a bit of a health crisis due to mass pesticide exposure (driving by a farm). Then last Thursday my mother had an extremely bad episode of heat exhaustion. I thought for a moment I had actually lost her. Thankfully she made a full recovery.
All of these events together solidified a few things in my mind about our reaction to crisis and moving beyond suffering. In my pastoral care classes we were taught to give scripture and encourage prayer. I lived under the influence of “suffering makes us better people”. Instead of becoming free from suffering that ideology creates an identity of suffering. That is not freedom.
When we recognize that the moment of crisis is simply a moment that is over we cease to bring the crisis into the present moment. We no longer define ourselves by the crisis and instead we are free to define our identity by other thoughts such as “I am a loving person”. It is by inhabiting the current moment instead of the past that we move out of suffering.
Be Well and In Peace
*I am not a mental health care provider. This post should not replace a qualified healthcare provider. If you are struggling with PTSD, depression, or trauma related issues I urge you to seek out a compassionate, qualified therapist. There is no shame in asking for help.