Dealing with anxiety in a world of insecurity
I would like to start off by saying that even though I am a monk. Have been one for 50 years, I am not sure I do any of the above very well. As I age it is getting very hard hiding from myself. When young I had all kinds of ideas of who I was, and now I am finding that most of these ideas are hollow, empty, and based on a fear of shattering my fragile ego.
In the USA today, we are in a place that we have not been in for a long time. In the past, we would read of all the horrors in the world happening in other places. Whole countries tied up in civil war, or fighting hunger, or some disease that was ravaging the population. In the USA, we had our problems, but never that bad nor widespread. Perhaps this led to complacency on our part, though if this is so, it was most likely unconscious.
Well, l today that is not so. The whole world is in the grip of a pandemic. In the USA, we are seeing wave after wave, and each seems to be worse than the first one. There is a segment of the population that thinks that there is really not much of a problem. That is until they or a loved one becomes a statistic. Until it touches our family and friends, it does not seem to be real.
I do believe, however, even those who deny any real problem. May deep within. Still, like the rest of us, who do believe that this pandemic is a real threat, also have some deep-seated anxiety about it. For we really do not know much about this disease, or even how long the vaccine will last. They are also finding that for seniors that efficacy rate is lower for those over 65, I believe.
I do not think the lockdown is the best way to handle this. The World Health Origination was very clear on this point, very clear. Yet many people will not take the simple precautions that Fauci is recommending. So because of that, we could reach a death toll of 500,000. Some will say that is not that many in the overall population! Not sure how high a number that will have to go to before some people will listen. Many people have come to regret their take on the pandemic when they actually get sick, and quite a few of them have died.
True, we are lucky that the vast majority of people do not die from it, and many do not even get real sick, yet we could go up to 500,000 deaths. Not even considering the toll lit is taking on our first responders. Also, the fact that in some parts of the country hospitals are full, and those who suffer from other ailments will not always get the help they need.
I do not obsess over the pandemic, yet perhaps because of age or the fact that I believe that Fauci knows what he is talking about, has led me to be aware of low lying anxiety, which is more likely if I were to feel it in its full force, may well be overwhelming. Let’s hear it for repression.
As this wave continues to move forward, many of us are starting to feel its impact, as friends and family are affected. I know more than a few who have died from this disease, and we still have a few months to go, even with the vaccines.
There is one good point that has come out of this. Life is now even more precious, and yes more of us know how precarious it is as well. Not just on an intellectual level, but from experience. So when something is precious, it is also more beautiful. I am finding thankfulness for my life, and the life of those I love, and well for the lives of everyone, and that seems to bring out joy.
We as a species do not live long, and in that the flavor of life is sweeter, even in the midst of anxiety, fear, pain, doubt, and loneliness. Life is a gift, given to us for a reason. One reason I believe is to stay in hope even when things can feel hopeless. Feelings and emotions change, they are good, but if we are to grow in our humanity, our faith, and in our love of others, we need to learn to embrace it all, It is all good, no matter the appearance and experience. I am not downplaying suffering, I hate suffering, but it is part of life, and even if I do not always understand its purpose, Christ Jesus, I believe gives us insight. All we need do is to ponder his life, death, and resurrection to grow in our understanding of this deep mystery that we will never to the bottom of.
God is close, we are never alone, and that takes a deep faith to believe, and live out. God bless us every one!—Br.MD