We have and continue to face so much tragedy, so many difficulties. The horrible fires in California, the shootings in Southern California, at the Pittsburg synagogue and most recently at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital bring forth such angst and grief. It is overwhelming. How does one deal with the expected sadness, anxiety and heartache brought forth by these catastrophes? One answer is courage. We are never so strong as when we are vulnerable. It is during these times we are intensely made aware of the importance of others – that we need and depend on each other. It is both unwise and unnecessary to go through these troubling life events alone. Accepting assistance from others is essential. Help and comfort comes in many forms and it is important to recognize even the smallest acts of kindness, ones that seem so simple at the time can become extraordinary. As my son reminds me, just because something is simple doesn’t mean it is not worthy. It means you got to the essence, the core of the issue or behavior. These thoughtful actions can be a neighbor's hug, an offer of condolence, someone providing a meal, giving you a call or sending a card. These gestures lets one know they are important which is the essence of our humanity…making others feel they are worthwhile, remembered and supported. It is so necessary now, during times of despair, when all seem hopeless.
Although I recognize the pain brought forth by human and natural disasters, throughout my work with trauma survivors, their families and communities, I have learned and recognized that in the midst of their despair, fear and anger, they find a sliver of hope. That hope is brought forth and supported by recognizing blessings and finding the only real cure to their despair – gratitude.
During Thanksgiving, spend time recognizing your blessings. Practice gratitude. It is an important, essential activity because it changes both the giver and receiver - for the better. I will start by identifying my blessings: family, friends and the opportunity to be of service, to provide support and guidance for those who suffer and are burdened by life’s trials and traumas.
For allowing us to be with you, to be present and assist during the most distressing times - we are truly honored and grateful.
Dr. Joyce Mikal-Flynn and Team Metahab