There are times when, despite the years of training, education, and experience, there are just no words for what lies between two people in the therapy room. When the grief and pain is tangible, with mass and weight and texture – but with no words. When the images and sounds and the felt sense is so vivid, but language fails to capture experience. And when the only words that come to mind seem trite, pale, and weak. At those times, I am grateful for the eloquence of others. Today, I will borrow the eloquence of one of my favorite songwriters to share my wishes for you.
When the world feels heavy
When the concrete of the world
Becomes too cumbersome to lift
And the cataracts of fear and doubt
Cloak truth beyond what we can sift
Some days, the world feels too heavy to lift one’s shoulders and stand straight.
Some days, the fear and anger and injustice of the world loom like pyroclastic clouds racing down the mountain to overwhelm us. Too big to climb. Too dangerous to fight. Too fast to flee. The scope and speed of the roiling darkness can bring despair as the cloud bears down upon us. To see the cloud approaching, gobbling up life and leaving behind ash, is to feel small and afraid.
When you face that cloud, hold on. Hold tight.
Hold tight to the hands of those who continue to fight for justice even when it feels impossible. Cling to the stories we tell to inspire ourselves and our children. Find the helpers, because as Mr. Rogers reminded us, they are always there no matter how disastrous the world becomes. Be the helper. Lean on the strength of those around you when you need to rest, and lend yourself to the fight when you can.
When the world feels dark
And darkness, darkness bleeds its way
When crippling anguish clouds our sight
The ghosts of dusk have bared their teeth
Set their claws to bring the night
Some days, we regret trading our rose-colored glasses for 20/20 vision. Seeing clearly means watching shadows crawl across the floor and hide what we thought we knew. It means realizing that a loved one can be a real life Dorian Gray, with a hidden face that no one sees. When we learn that what we thought was love is in fact betrayal, the lights seem to dim.
When you take off your glasses and see cannot be unseen, hold on. Hold tight.
Hold on to those who speak Truth. When the grief and anger threaten to drown you, hold onto what grounds your feet. Anchor yourself in trustworthy relationships. Put your arms around those who love and value you, and hold on.
When the world feels hopeless
Darkness can’t perceive the light
Though lightlessness has chilled us numb
And though its wings may cloud the skies
The dark shall never overcome
Some days, it all just feels like too much. The pyroclastic cloud is too big and too fast. The shadows are too deep and too dark. The ugly truth is too well hidden, and we are alone in our knowledge of it. On those days, the grief and anger can feel monstrous large, and utterly isolating. When you feel alone with the feelings that are just too big, hold on. Hold tight.
Hold onto the love you give and receive in your truest relationships.
Hold tight to the memory of daylight, and the sure knowledge that it will return even after the darkest night.
Hold on to Hope.
Hope is is, after all, the bravest thing we have.
*Italicized sections are lyrics from “These Frail Hands,” written by Reese Roper/Brave Saint Saturn