You are not alone.

You are not alone. This will pass. Hold on.

Please take a moment to watch Father Ray Kelly sing Everybody Hurts and remember that we need to reach out to each other. We are each other’s comfort and hope.

Lyrics

When your day is long
And the night
The night is yours alone
When you’re sure you’ve had enough
Of this life
Well hang on
Don’t let yourself go
‘Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes

Sometimes everything is wrong
Now it’s time to sing along
When your day is night alone (hold on)
(Hold on) if you feel like letting go (hold on)
If you think you’ve had too much
Of this life
Well, hang on

Cause everybody hurts
Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts
Don’t throw your hand
Oh, no
Don’t throw your hand
If you feel like you’re alone
No, no, no, you’re not alone

If you’re on your own
In this life
The days and nights are long
When you think you’ve had too much
Of this life
To hang on

Well, everybody hurts sometimes
Everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes
So, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on

Everybody hurts. You are not alone

Songwriters: Bill Berry / Michael Stipe / Peter Buck / Michael MillsEverybody Hurts lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

The groans of your heart.

Sometimes it is hard to know what to pray for. Things are uncertain, feelings so complex, emotions so raw. Words may fail you. But yet you yearn to reach out to God and ask for help. For you, for those you love, for the world. Please help.

It is in times like these when we don’t need words. God will hear the longing in our heart.

“The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26.

You don’t need words. You don’t need to figure out if you’re feeling anger, grief, frustration, desperation. You just want God to keep you safe. Open your heart. God will hear its groanings.

For an inspiring prayer sung by a father-daughter duo, take a moment to savor this.

https://youtu.be/cqFCbtRz1Z0

Singing in the darkness.

Amid a country-wide quarantine in Italy, a beautiful voice sings out into the empty streets, only to be joined by more voices, until their chorus warms the entire world. Enjoy this reminder that, even as we struggle. we belong to each other.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/coronavirus-italy-siena-song-canto-della-verbena-video-lockdown-a9399176.html

Watch for the stars.

In every darkness, a bit of light will shine to light your way. It may be in the acts of kindness and generosity you see, in words of wisdom you remember and hold close to your heart, or memories of past struggles that you have gotten through to the other side. We draw strength and courage from each other, working together. That community will sustain us.

In his book, Healing the Divide, editor James Crews collects poem of kindness and compassion. Here is one by Danusha Laméris for you to carry with you today:

“I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs to let you by. Or how strangers still say ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes, a leftover from the Bubonic plague. ‘Don’t die,’ we are saying. And sometimes, when you spill lemons from your grocery bag, someone else will help you pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other. We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot, and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder, and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass. We have so little of each other, now. So far from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange. What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these fleeting temples we make together when we say, ‘Here have my seat,’ ‘Go ahead—you first,’ ‘I like your hat.’”

We will get through this present darkness. Hold tight to the little kindnesses, savor them, and spread them where you can to light the way for those behind you.

For more, a reminder that we were made for times like these.

Saving love

Sometimes it’s easy to respond in love. People are kind; you’re kind in return. Someone is generous to you; you pay it forward to someone else.

But sometimes it isn’t easy at all. Sometimes it feels like the world is on fire, and everyone is rushing around thinking only of saving themselves. You feel vulnerable, exposed, in danger. You are on emotional high alert, alarms clanging. What then?

It is in these times, that any shows of love shine like light in darkness. Focusing on expressing your love gives the people you care about safe harbor. Focusing on being gentle with the people around you can calm the tide.

Home is a place we all must find.

ache

Something there is in each of us that longs for home, that place where we are welcome and accepted and known. Yet in this world of constant mobility and displacement (often involuntary), that feeling of home remains elusive. What if that feeling of home is something we can activate ourselves and bring to ourselves and others? What if we could make everyone feel a bit more at home?

‘Home’ is more than just a place. But what is it really?

 

In Willie Baronet’s TEDx talk last year, he quoted Glinda from the Wiz: ”Home is a place we all must find, child. It’s not just a place where you eat or sleep. Home is knowing. Knowing your mind, knowing your heart, knowing your courage. If we know ourselves, we’re always home, anywhere.”

What can we do today to bring that feeling of home to everyone we meet?

 

 

Flex your fearless muscle.

fear

So much of success comes from stepping beyond your comfort zone, reaching out to others, trying things a new way, taking risks. Some of us were born natural risk takers, but for the rest of us, it helps to challenge yourself to try new things, speak out, push yourself. The more we do, the more we can do.

Facing fear.

thatthing

Standing up to fear changes a person. It helps you to put matters in perspective. Where once fear loomed over you, insurmountable, now you can honor the courage it took to move past it into unfamiliar territory.

Eleanor Roosevelt was a courageous woman. Despite her husband’s attempts to placate the South, she regularly bucked segregation and was a vocal proponent of civil rights. She was able to call out racism and force others to see it for what it was:

By 1939, ER decided to attack the hypocritical way in which the nation dealt with racial injustice. She wanted her fellow citizens to understand how their guilt in “writing and speaking about democracy and the American way without consideration of the imperfections within our system with regard to its treatment . . . of the Negro” encouraged racism. Americans, she told Ralph Bunche in an interview for Gunnar Myrdal’s American Dilemma, wanted to talk “only about the good features of American life and to hide our problems like skeletons in the closet.” Such withdrawal only fueled violent responses; Americans must therefore recognize “the real intensity of feeling” and “the amount of intimidation and terrorization” racism promotes and act against such “ridiculous” behavior.

You can’t clearly see a problem before you if you are too scared to look at it and call it out for what it is.

Sweep it out.

broom

There is something about organizing closets or sleeping floors that is therapeutic. Where once there was a mess, now there is order. And when done to soothe your mood, the activity brings a sense of calm. Short, angry jabs of the broom become slow graceful sweeps, until what was once dirty becomes clean.

Sweeping dirty floors is a great metaphor for tackling most any problem, including anger and fear. Anger tells us where the work needs to be done; activity gives us a place to put that surge of adrenaline, and focusing on the task turns our attention away from fear to the project at hand.

Face the fear.

fearbridge

The monster’s threat in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is chilling: “Beware, for I am fearless and therefore powerful.” What might the monster do to exact revenge if he is truly fearless? Yikes.

But the statement taken out of context can also apply to non-monsters, people hoping to do good but paralyzed by fear to reach out. Fear gets in our way, and sometimes that’s a good thing. Fear can keep us safe from danger– falling, catching diseases, getting broken bones. But fear can also keep us from speaking out against injustice, reaching out to help a neighbor, defending a bully victim, or any one of an endless list of situations where our fighting that fear will result in a greater good. These situations stir us to act and to lay the fear aside because deep down we know the right thing to do, and we know that we are the one who needs to do it.

We are far more powerful than we know.