This week started with a terrorist attack during a concert in Manchester. And I’m not sure where to begin with that other than it’s overwhelming, numbing, and painful to watch these things happen over and over again. Knowing that there will be another inevitably, and not knowing how to comfort those more directly involved–especially when trauma related incidents remind you of other events.
Waiting for the other shoe to drop, feeling cornered, anxiety rising in your chest…when there may or may not be a threat. But you don’t know, so your body and mind are always ready for whatever comes your way. You’ve never been to war, but you know what it’s like to be in the midst of a battle.
This is what trauma does to a person. And it. is. exhausting. Even when a threat isn’t present, triggers from when there was a threat are constant and seem extraordinarily ordinary. The smell of someone’s cologne, a road you drive on all the time, a certain type of clothing, etc. Or even being in a similar environment: like in a church or your own home where abuse has occurred.
I’ve been conditioned to say “oh, but God’s in control and everything will work out for your good.” But I have a very low tolerance for that bullshit this week. Not saying that it’s not true. Just…It’s not helpful during times of distress and grief. What’s better is to sit with people in that grief and pain and be there. Be present with one another and don’t try to “fix it.”
I want to have comforting words for people. I want to tell them it will be ok and give them hope. Especially as someone in seminary training for ministry, I feel like I should know what to say that fixes this. None of that brings people back from the dead or reverses abuse. So, the only thing I know to say presently is to love each other well and be kind. Because we can always be kind. And I think that matters especially in the face of evil.