North America is being racked by disasters. Harvey, Irma, Maria, José, and now an earthquake, for crying out loud. Which I am. North Korea is firing missiles. The President of the United States is firing ill-advised tweets. White supremacists are gathering force.
The speed and variety of calamities bewilders both heart and mind. Where to focus? How to grieve? How to understand? Where to serve? What to give whom?
These are not easy questions, but they press on us. We must lean into them, discerning our individual calls in the midst of the suffering and the destruction.
For some, the temptation is to withdraw. To shut your ears, hunker down, pretend all is fine. We cannot do this. Too many are suffering and too much is at stake.
We also cannot neglect daily living and go into survival mode. At least those of us outside the disaster zones cannot. We must face our small lives and the large questions with equal tenacity. This is a tricky balance, a dance we must do day-by-day.
Two weeks ago, while there looked to be little to celebrate on the global scene, we chose to bring gaiety into our home. We adopted a puppy.
The embodiment of cheer and zest, “Mitzi” has overtaken our family. By force, she brings delight to each day. Even as we pack up supplies for Harvey victims and pray against nuclear war, we laugh at her puppy quirks. We let her snuggles minister to our souls and our nervous systems. The wriggling, wagging, scrabbling, frolicking—such gladness!
Where there are meta-needs, seek also small delights. When there are global questions, pursue nearby felicity. Get a puppy. Celebrate a birthday. Make an elaborate meal. Do karaoke.