Calm in the Midst of Chaos: Jesus Calms the Storm
"That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:35-41
My husband and I went to the store to get our groceries yesterday. It was a day unlike any other trip to the grocery store. The parking lot was full, as one would expect, with the events that spread over the land. Talk on the news of the Coronavirus had spread for weeks, and now the store aisles were growing bare.
When we finally finished our shopping list, we bee-hived to the end of the line. One man had proceeded to the end of the line at the same time as we did. He graciously offered for us to go in front of him. He and my husband began conversing, while the woman in front of me realized she had forgotten an item and asked if I wouldn't mind watching her cart while she ran to the other side of the store.
When the woman returned, the line had really started moving. The store had done a great job to get the checkout stands filled with cashiers and move the lines along. She was appreciative of my assistance. She thanked me and we started to talk. The theme of the season was "crazy," as these were indeed crazy, chaotic times. We talked about the craziness of the circumstances, and we made good conversation. As we parted ways, I wished her well and said, "It was nice talking to you."
When we got to the checkout, I remembered the man who was assisting with the packaging of our groceries. He had been in the parking lot gathering store carts when we arrived, as there were none to be found in the store. I thanked the cashier and the clerk for working extremely hard and they were grateful for my kindness. They said that everyone had been courteous and polite. It was beautiful to feel the warmth of the community, as we share in this difficult time.
In times of crisis, there are questions and uncertainty which bring fear and anxiety. People may react and approach the crisis in the form of fight-or-flight. How can we reduce feelings of stress over the uncertainty or feeling like "the sky is falling," and reverting to panic mode?
We can acknowledge the situation and take the right measures to stay safe and reduce risk and harm to ourselves, our family, and our communities. Acknowledging our fears guides us in dealing with the situation, taking the necessary action steps, and moving forward. According to psychological research, if we give in to fear, we may experience feelings of helplessness and lose hope.
A crisis can create negative emotions, but it can also generate positive responses which lowers our distress and improves our coping skills during times of stress. In the midst of catastrophe, we can respond in kindness toward one another, be a good neighbor, and demonstrate altruism.
What can we do to alleviate feeling fearful and maintain normalcy during a crisis?
Create a plan and take specific steps to stay safe and provide for our essential needs
Partner with others, such as family and friends
Take information from creditable sources and don't give in to rumors
Demonstrate empathy, stay positive, and encourage others
Journal to help you process your feelings and reduce stress and anxiety
According to Psych Central, there are various benefits to journaling. Psychologist, James Pennebaker, "believes that writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your physical health." Journaling benefits our well-being by allowing us to more fully discover who we are. It allows us to put our feelings on paper so that we don't bottle up our emotions. It clears our thoughts and feelings, reduces stress and anxiety, and allows us to be able to solve problems in a productive way. (Psych Central)
During times of disaster, people experience and cope with stress in numerous ways, such as denial, anger, and even numbness. It is critical to take care of our basic survival needs to help us bring our emotions and actions to a place of balance. Children may also feel upset or scared and may react from how they see or sense their parents and caregivers respond. We can best assure our children of the circumstances by remaining calm and maintaining normalcy. It is important for us to talk with our children at their age level, and allow them to ask questions, and express their feelings. (Helping Children)
God calls us to be a light and to share the hope of Christ with our neighbors, our community, and all whom we come in contact with. Personally, I've been reaching out to family and friends. All of them express different levels of emotional concerns. How can we comfort our brothers and sisters in this time of adversity?
Pray for one another
Reach out to family and friends
Care for each others needs, if you can
Listen to the concerns of others and show empathy
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16