“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine, When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43: 1-3 ESV 

In these times, there is much to be confused about. The assumptions we made as citizens of the United States are being challenged. Most people did not perceive it was possible to be restricted in our movements or daily life choices. We did not question that we could walk into stores and be able to get the items we came for. We did not believe that we would be asked to stay away from the people in our communities that we relied on to feel safe and loved. Routines have been disrupted world wide in a way that has been unheard of in our lifetime. 

Last Sunday, was the first time I allowed myself to feel sadness about current events. Prior to that, I felt some fear and consternation about the future but was able to recenter my mind to avoid an overwhelming sense of fear. My brain was telling me that if I stayed in that emotional place, fear and depression could overtake my daily life. 

At that moment, I realized that I had to shift my thoughts in order to find calmness in chaos. Self reflection has always been a part of my life. At times, this personality trait has caused emotional paralysis and prevented me from taking charge of my own life. Sometimes, I choose to procrastinate rather than feel feelings I am trying to avoid. Sometimes, I spend too many hours engaging in self criticism and self abuse. It is still surprising to me that after so many years of self analysis that I can still feel this way. Then I remember, that I am a human being and subject to those limitations that humans have. 

I chose to live every day in gratitude. I am blessed with a loving and devoted husband who makes me laugh even when I do not feel like it. I have sons in loving relationships with strong women who support them and love them unconditionally . I have two grandchildren who never cease to amaze me. Watching their minds at work is something that brings great joy and hope for the future. I have family members and friends I can turn to if I need support. I am blessed to have countless soul sisters and brothers who are able to see beyond the obvious. I have shelter, food, heat and clean water. What more does one person need? 

As we go about these days, let us remember that we can choose to be negative or positive. We can choose to be kind or selfish. We can choose to inspire others with our words and deeds or we can discourage others and feel hopeless and helpless. We can turn to others in support or we can choose to isolate ourselves in pain. Each one of us has been granted the freedom of choice. Do not underestimate this gift. Surrender and accept that there are things we cannot change but choose wisdom to know that we can change ourselves. 

I believe that most people will look within and find an inner power and strength that they never knew they had. We all have special gifts to share. Chose to live one day at a time and celebrate those gifts. Look at others in a new way. It is harder to accept those whose politics and values differ from our own but it is critical to do so if we want peace and serenity in our own lives. 

There are some coping skills that we can utilize now to help us in this moment. Get outside and feel the healing power of nature. Pay attention to getting the proper amount of sleep. Drink water and eat healthy foods. Be aware of our thoughts and behaviors as they effect ourselves and others. Create moments of solitary time with ourselves to contemplate. Limit time spent with social media. Checkout the internet to find short meditations to create mindfulness. Mindfulness is scientifically proven to improve our moods and lessen stress. Follow the golden rule. Stay safe and healthy. Walk in peace and love. 

Janet Siry, LCSW Child of God 

March 22, 2020