Pushing Through the Fog
Elizabeth A. Herzing
In this edition, I come before you with a foggy mind as I struggle to traverse the rocky path set before me. I have writer’s block. I’d like to attribute it to lack of sleep, the chaos of planning for the upcoming holidays, or a decline in mental clarity resulting from the antiviral drugs I’ve been taking to fight off shingles. But I realize these are merely side effects of a larger problem: my inability to come to terms with the realities of death, destruction, and natural and man-made disasters in every corner of the world, including close to home in the St. Louis area.
I’m overwhelmed. I don’t know where to start. When I consider the catastrophes caused by powerful hurricanes, the death toll of innocent students on the precipice of living a full life, the hatred and dissention displayed under the guise of political partisanship, I want to run “off the grid” and escape. But eventually the fog passes and I realize the only way to face the turmoil is head-on.
Tragedy grants us the unique opportunity to become a light under a veil of darkness. And in reaching out to offer others a hand up, it’s important to notice that, more often than not, our own minor complaints and inconveniences are trivial in comparison.
I’ve found that one way to face the turmoil head-on is to remember I am one of the billions of children of God. All of us are. Through the sacraments of our Church, we are made disciples of Christ. It is our Christian mission to live the gospel, and this means trudging with our brothers and sisters right through the muck—figuratively and literally. We are a family.
Social media is often cited as the culprit for the decline in human interaction and an increase in dissonance. And while there may be some truth to this theory, technology also has an upside. It allows us to keep up with loved ones, both nearby and far away. And it opens the door to opportunities for collaboration and support. We can round up the purchase price at a grocery or department store to support a cause, donate via a text, or visit a “fund-me” link without leaving home.
The downside of hands-off helping and chatting is that they are void of the human touch, which has a tendency to make us immune to the depth of suffering. We can combat potential complacency by being present when possible. If we push past the fog, insert ourselves onto a rocky path, and lend a helping hand, we can bear the burden set before us, together, as a family.