So, if you haven’t noticed, the vast majority of my blog posts are a stream-of-conscience-y type recall of my own life lessons, as I learn them. (I’m an external processor, I apologize.) So, here’s another life lesson, written in real-time as I sort through it.
I think we’re all still reeling from the events in Boston, as well as other disasters and tragedies happening all over the U.S., and the world.
Last week was a busy one. I put in a lot of hours at work, navigating the hectic world of balancing a conference in Kansas City with many of my usual responsibilities. (Conferences are almost harder when you live where they occur. People expect something different from you when you live in the city where the conference happens. And you still have the responsibilities of home, like caring for pets, running errands, etc.) We did some dynamite work (in my opinion) during the conference, and we fit in a lot of fun in between knock-you-off-your-feet-from-exhaustion bouts of hard work. Thursday night was a late one — I was writing until well after 8 p.m., and then went straight to a party attached to the conference. I didn’t get home until well past a respectable bed time, and I was pretty much asleep as soon as my head hit my pillow.
Apparently, while I was stressing about work and blowing off steam with other conference attendees, the rest of the U.S. (it seems) watched in anxious solidarity as the remaining culprit of the Boston Marathon bombing was found and apprehended.
Here I was, stressing myself out worrying about the deadline of a blog post, when brave men and women conducted a hunt for a killer — and succeeded in finding him. Catching up on the news on Friday morning, I was embarrassed of myself, ashamed even. Earlier in the week, I sat in shocked silence watching social media light up with news of the bombing. I shed tears, I paced the office, and I tried my damnedest to put out some good work. (Days like that are hard when social media is your job. There’s virtually no way to avoid seeing it everywhere. And I’m a bleeding heart — despite any callous front I may try to put up at times, I feel deeply for others.) Then, the week got busy and I latched onto whatever I could.
Friday morning, I realized I had lodged myself deeply into my Kelly-centric bubble. My work was a welcome distraction from the heartbreak in the world around me. My fun, too. I invested myself wholly into the chaos of my individual life, and shut off the big picture around me. I don’t know if it was a coping mechanism, or my brain’s inability to handle too many things at once. But, on Friday morning, it all came rushing back as I started an early day of social media monitoring.
The Boston Marathon bombing; the subsequent manhunt, firefight, deaths, and chaos after; friends and family in Illinois facing flooding that could wreck homes and stop a farm (and life itself, for that matter) in its tracks; a young member of my family facing some seriously scary health testing; and so many other disheartening and unsettling events, here and around the world.
My bubble was burst. And I was ashamed of just how well-established that bubble had been in the face of a difficult time for America.
I mentioned it on Facebook. Friends “liked” my status, in which I admitted embarrassment at my own bubble. One, however, mentioned that it was hardly a bad thing for me to enjoy the good things in life when these things happen. I’m grateful for my exciting career and the opportunities to have fun as a part of it. I am extremely blessed by both of those things. Was it a bad thing for me to carry on with life?
I don’t think so. But, I also wish that I could have found a happy medium — I shut it out for a few days and found myself feeling worse for the wear because of it later. But, then again, I’m not always the best at finding emotional middle ground. I want to be better at it, but it doesn’t come just doesn’t come naturally to my polarized brain.
So, let’s make a deal, friends. Let’s make a deal that when bad things happen, however horrific or terrifying or heartbreaking they might be, that we do our best to continue to enjoy and celebrate the good in this world. And while we do that, we remember those impacted by these bad things, because they deserve it — they deserve for us to enjoy the good in honor of them, to prove that the bad won’t win. We can’t let the bad swallow us. But, we also can’t shut it out and live as though it doesn’t exist. We don’t learn from it when we do that, and we don’t appreciate the wonderful things as well.
Bubbles burst. It’s a part of life. Bad things happen around us and sometimes it breaks our sense of security, it violates our self-imposed position of innocence. It’s part of the process of life, falling from your popped bubble, hitting the ground, and realizing that sometimes the world outside of your bubble is still beautiful. Scary at times, yes. But oh so capable of unbelievable beauty.
I’m a Christian, so to me, the natural response to these tragedies and traumas and hardships is prayer. I know that isn’t for everyone, though. So, when you see bad in the world, please take a moment to share light and warmth in whatever way you see fit. Whether it’s whispered words to God or some other form of prayer or support-sharing, please do it. I firmly believe that even though there are truly disturbed people out there, one of the most beautiful things in this life is the human spirit. Share that spirit — that’s one of the best ways to acknowledge the bad while embracing the good.
Also, donate blood. Even if there isn’t a a disaster in your area, there’s probably a life you could save (for free!) with that selfless donation!