Lanterns In The Dark
Updated: Mar 23, 2022
We live from crisis to crisis these days. After two years of doing our best to survive a global pandemic, we are now the victims of a madman’s unrelenting terror campaign. If you’re like me, you’re finding optimism and joy ever more difficult to express. Sometimes, I find myself slowly sinking into the dark waters of depression, constantly checking my news feeds for the latest information on the war in Ukraine, hoping for a solution that will end the pain and suffering of the innocents. Unfortunately, as of today, the conflict continues to escalate without an end in sight. I find it hard to believe that in the 76 years since we discovered the horrific destruction of a single atom bomb, we have not learned a thing about the insanity of war. But here we are.
As I go about my day, my thoughts inevitably turn to the victims of conflict around the world; people who are hiding in cold, dark cellars, running out of food and water with crying children on their laps. Great throngs of people leave all they possess to find a haven for their families, putting their lives and that of their children at risk as they walk for miles and miles to find some sense of safety in another country. These images haunt my days and dreams.
I look at my own beloved grandchildren, bright little beings with big, inquisitive eyes, sunny smiles, and soft hearts. I want to hold them close. I want them to grow and prosper. I want them to develop into kind humans who can make the world a better and more forgiving place, as we wish for children everywhere.
In one of her poems, Emily Dickinson wrote, “I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.” So am I.
Does that reflect where you are too? How can we bring the light back into our lives and hearts, even for just a few moments? I've found a few things that have helped me and maybe they can help you too.
Hug your family and the children in your lives as often as possible and tell them you love them
Help someone else. Bring food to a neighbor who is going through difficult times or donate to an organization that helps the victims of the war in Ukraine or other conflicts around the world
Meditate or schedule some quiet time to rejuvenate your spirit
Read an uplifting book
Exercise your body and your mind
Tap into your creativity – whether it’s painting a landscape, gardening, or knitting a scarf – creativity calms the mind and soothes the soul
Call a friend and share stories about your day or your week
Write and mail a letter (on paper) to someone who would be surprised to hear from you
Take a picture each day for a month of something you see that makes you smile
Stargaze on a clear night and be amazed by the beauty of the cosmos
And if you find yourself sinking ever deeper into depression, don't hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255
Each day brings its own challenges and gifts. Remember to set some time aside to focus on helping yourself and others rise above the chaos. It could make all the difference in the world.