Seek out the Silver Lining
As you are out and about doing life in the world, I am sure you have noticed the angst currently running wild in our world. I see it in our patients as they are tired and pushing the limits with work, school, homeschooling, and possibly dealing with a loved one out of work. As soon as they sit in the chair I ask, "So what's happening in your world?" Firstly, I truly want to know how they are doing. And second, it gives me a glimpse into the chaos that surrounds their lives. My hope is that at the end of our conversation, they can verbalize the burden and lay it away at least for a moment. Why does it matter? It matters! Many people feel stuck, in a rut, like the movie Ground Hogs Day. The hopelessness, the fear the uncertainty all weighs in and can at times feel crushing. When this sickness first started, one thing that kept begging me to hear it is, to find the Silver Lining. That lining is the place in the depths of your heart where you look past all that you've lost, to see what is still there. Much like a hurricaine that after the storm you find that sacred treasure and you hold on to it for dear life!
Each year when we go to Guatemala for our dental missions, I struggle with the poverty, the pain, sickness, death, disease and that emotional weight is sometimes really hard to see. They've lost so much. If I stayed there in that head space, the depression would consume me. One such story always keeps me looking at that silver lining. We were on our way from a tiny town in Guatemala to a larger town where we would set up shop to do our dental work. As we were heading there, our driver asked if we wanted to see where the volcano came through a town and wiped it out. It was a beautiful village, and close to 3000 people died. There was no warning of an imminent volcano eruption and unfortunately many people were living in the path of its destruction. We were there on the first anniversary of the eruption. We walked through the once filled streets and sadly saw clothing and baby bottles, markers for tombstones, flags, trinkets and anything that would memorialize the deaths of their loved ones. As we were walking in this completely deserted area, we happened to see smoke on the horizon. Our driver, a native Guatemalan, was intrigued. Let's see what's happening there. As we got closer we noticed an old woman, moving bricks, stacking wood, and it looked like she was setting up a home. The driver spoke to her in her native language, asking her...what are you doing? She said that 36 members of her family were killed in the volcano and many buried right under where she stood. She wept as she told the story and said, "I want to live here next to love, and I am rebuilding my life right here!" Her silver lining was love, looking past the destruction to building a better life and staking a place in the ground that she would not see life as lost. I still have volcanic rock as to her memory and what she taught me that day. All is not lost, if we look to our silver lining.