It is stating the obvious to say we are all coping with loss, grief and the unknown in today’s world. Even if you skip the barrage of daily news reports touting: mass shootings, racial tensions and injustice, climate crisis issues, human rights violations, political infighting, etc.; there is the pandemic. We’ve lived with the unknown of Covid now for more than a year. In a Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, nearly half (45%) of American adults reported they were negatively affected by worry and stress over the virus. Some of us coping better than others, but all are coping.
“Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.”
We hear about increased social isolation in the news, daily. We see groups of teenagers, seemingly together but staring into their phones instead of interacting with each other. Increased use of social media has led to heightened feelings of social isolation. Recent research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that the more time young adults spend on social media, the more likely it is for them to feel socially isolated.
It is often human nature to want the answers to life’s agonies to be complex. I mean, the problems are complicated, right? Diseases have names we can barely pronounce, let alone understand. Layers of past emotional pain we can’t even begin to unravel. We trick ourselves into believing that if prayer is connected to healing, it must be complex. We search ourselves for hidden sins; somehow thinking that any brokenness, any cracks in our veneer will block our connection to God. We are quite certain that we need to “fix ourselves” first before we can be worthy of God’s healing or grace.
The power of prayer has been debated in the media often in the last few months. Some say prayers are valueless, but many, when faced with an untenable situation, turn to prayer for comfort and help. Merely repeating words of a prayer may not solve a life situation, but deep, heartfelt communion with God does lift us out of life’s challenges and puts us on a more steady path of good. People, communing and listening to God, have experienced healing both physically, mentally, and situationally.
There are so many things going on in our day to day lives that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and fed up with everything that comes with our daily routine. From moms running around taking their kids to and from school and soccer practice to young adults trying to find their way in a very confusing and chaotic world, everyone is going through something that is challenging them and potentially wearing them down both mentally, physically and emotionally.
Is your life just plain busy? Has your life spun out of control? Do you run from one place to another? Do you wish to feel deep peace? Inner stillness?
According to the news, the world can look pretty bleak. There appears to be a never ending cycle of disasters, devastation, division. But, is that the only view? Is there good news that effaces the bad news of the day? There is.