Meditation on a Tragedy: Part II

John McManamy Health Guide
  • “I read the news today, oh boy … “


    Actually, I don’t know how I first found about the news, but my first response was no more news. My problem is not that I am insensitive to human tragedy, but that I am over-sensitive to it. My heart cries out, next thing my neurons are shutting down.


    We are an extremely vulnerable population, with the equivalent of eggshell skulls. And there was the media, out in force, in full overkill mode, brandishing their sledgehammers.


    My response was no more Google News, no TV, no radio, no looking at newspapers or magazines. All I needed to see was a photo that somehow reminded me of my daughter and I could lose it.

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    It didn’t stop there: I kept conversation and email correspondence to a minimum. My producer at HealthCentral wanted me to write something. No way. One, I had to take care of myself, first. Two, I had nothing to say.


    Okay, some wise words from Ecclesiastes – I posted some of my favorite verses. When one’s soul is in crisis, it pays to turn to trusted sources of spiritual comfort. It also helps to seek out trusted family members and friends.


    We can respond as intelligent and responsible citizens later, when the time is right.


    Ironically, one of the things I did not read was GJ Gregory’s excellent post here at BipolarConnect. He was advising readers to do what I was already doing, to first take care of yourself, to avoid the temptation to climb on a soap box, and to consider severely restricting your intake of news.


    Please read his post.


    I would add just a couple more things. First, there will come a time when once more we will be forcefully confronted with human madness, human folly, and man’s inhumanity to man. When that happens, first resolve to take care of yourself, employing all the coping techniques you have picked up over the years. Acknowledge your feelings, then do what you can to manage those feelings. If you find comfort in following the news, then by all means do what you need to do. Otherwise, keep in mind that the clicker comes with an “Off” button.


    Second, take heart in the goodness of man. Human tragedy may portray the worst in us, but it also brings out the best in all of us. Do not be afraid to let your spirit soar. Out of despair, it is possible to find hope. Hope is the opposite of fear. Nurture hope and it will carry you to healing.


    Finally, resolve to become a better person. In human tragedy, we find new strength, new compassion, new wisdom. The world may have gone mad, but you have not. Your simple presence on this planet is reason enough to remain optimistic. Take comfort in the fact that there are many many more like you. When the time is right, dare to set an example. Be well.


    He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Rev 21:4

Published On: April 23, 2007