Looking Inward

I have been feeling really overwhelmed and sad lately.  Everywhere I look is bad news and heartache.  We recently had fraudulent charges in our bank account, which lead me to discover our bank has been doing some bad business elsewhere.  And other than switching banks, there's nothing I can do to stop it.  We watched some of the presidential debate and read a lot (too much) on Facebook following it.  And other than voting and saying a prayer, there's nothing I can do to change it.  Everything around me feels big and outside my control.  What good can I do? What impact can I have?

At an appointment today I saw a little boy, maybe four years old, being pushed along by his mother who was yelling at him through his tears that he couldn't visit the doctor because they didn't have their insurance card.  He was upset, she was upset, yet they weren't able to turn to one another in their frustration.  I wanted to swoop in and tell them it would be okay.  I wanted to find the insurance card, hug the mama, who it seemed was upset about more than just the missed appointment, and console the boy whose tears ran desperately down his powerless cheeks.

The feeling reminded me of a day back in August when I witnessed something similar.  I was sitting in a sterile waiting room, patiently counting the minutes until my turn, when I saw a little girl, maybe 8, burst into hysterical tears, screaming, "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" obviously elated to see her father, unexpectedly, in this place.  Within seconds it was clear that she was not going to be allowed to visit or stay with her dad, and she was pulled, agonizingly, away from him by her mother.

I sat on the fake leather chairs, letting the tears slip from my eyes, hot & slick, with no shame. I had, in those moments, witnessed a heart breaking into a hundred pieces, and it deserved my rawest emotions.  Again, I felt pulled to do something, but found nothing fitting or helpful to do.

I was talking to Josh about these feelings last night and he said, "Babe, I think you gotta look more inward."  I knew exactly what he meant. We could all walk around witnessing the "bigger than us" problems in the world and end our days feeling useless and frustrated.  Or we can choose to look at what we can do to make things better around us.

This quote by Mother Theresa sprang immediately to mind when Josh said I needed to look inward.  I may not be able to take on corporate banking or the presidential candidates, but I can love my kids better.  I can be more patient, offer a kind word and make my home a refuge for them.  I can make my marriage a priority alongside family dinners and bedtime stories.  They may seem small things, but if I raise my kids up right, maybe, just maybe, they'll grow up and take on some of these battles I'm not equipped to face.


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