by Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau
For 10 days we have been walking around our homes and workplaces, our churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues, our city streets, and neighborhoods with feelings of shock, fear, disbelief, confusion, rage, incredulity, hurt, and vulnerability.
At the same time, we have been urged to begin the process of healing a divided nation, to seek reconciliation, and to prepare ourselves for whatever lies ahead. When we have found a safe place to share our feelings, we have been told that we are fear-mongering and exaggerating and that we need to get on with life as it is.
I would like to suggest that we need to deal with our individual and collective feelings before we can begin the task of healing ourselves and one another. Feelings of anger, resentment and betrayal are as real and human as the feelings of love, tenderness, courage, and passion.
What positive and productive things can we do with our current emotional state? Pax Christi USA offers the following:
- Embrace (not deny) the shock and trauma that you are experiencing. Find someone else who is feeling a similar way and listen to each other as you share openly and honestly the root causes of those feelings without being judgmental or minimizing them as trivial.
- Accept (not tolerate) the fear that you are experiencing for people who will be most impacted by the proposed policies and direction our country may take. Reach out in your local area to those communities; assuring them in real and concrete ways that you will stand with them in solidarity and that they will not be alone.
- Honor (not dismiss) the rage that you feel and turn it into couRAGE. We need the courage it takes to peacefully demonstrate, to sign petitions of solidarity, and to not retaliate in kind when challenged and confronted by the anger and rage of others.
- Welcome (not resent) the hurt and vulnerability you feel, for that is what makes us truly human and able to relate as brothers and sisters to one another.
If we can live through this time and honor the cacophony of feelings that are playing out within us, than we will find that we are being healed and others are also. And, perhaps in the process of healing we will find the deep gift of peace beginning again to bubble up inside us and the healing of our nation will begin. Pax Christi USA’s spirituality of nonviolence and peacemaking is a gift from a God of goodness who loves ALL of us…especially when we are experiencing the messiness, confusion, and glory of being human.