There’s a lot of raw emotion out there these days, at least in the United States. Social media is full of accusations, outrage, opinion, art, strident cries for justice and humanity and pleas for civility and peace. I find it difficult to wade through the level of emotion so readily available even as I find myself feeling raw and edgy lately. I tear up more easily (in anger, fear, and out of waves of love and in awe of connection). I feel my outrage surface more frequently. I feel the walls that have been holding me back, shrinking me to an acceptable attitude, crumbling one rock at a time.
I hear the pleas for civility and peace and I share that interest, but I also rejoice at the raw anger, fear and outrage I’m seeing, not necessarily at its clumsy expression, but at the acknowledgement of its existence. I rejoice at what I can only see as more people who are actually FEELING, who are actually asking themselves and then expressing to others how they FEEL about things. Is it ugly? Yes. Is it strident and painful to listen to? Sometimes. Is it uncomfortable? Always, for everyone. Is it justified? I have no idea nor do I wish to attempt to make that judgment. What I do know for sure is that people are feeling. People who have been “adulting,” who have been trudging along, who have been making do, getting by, stuffing their outrage, and numbing their unhappiness are FEELING.
What good does that do us? I can only believe that for society the answer is the same as it is for individuals. Our pain, our grief, our outrage, and our fear point us clearly in the direction of the work we need to do. The violence, the fury, the tears of anguish, the oppression and the angry outbursts show us where the wounds are, what we need to heal, the places where we as people cannot simply adult anymore. They are the signposts for growth, for transformation, for healing, and for redemption for all of us.
When I hear the ugliness, it impacts me, but I also silently note the wound; I close my eyes and silently say “I hear you.” I try to imagine the hurt that must be under the ugly. Sometimes I succeed. I also sometimes argue, share, counter, contradict, and even get angry as the edges of the wounds of others’ touch my own. And I rejoice at my own, and our collective, willingness to feel. Robert Frost encourages us that: “the best way out is through.” The best way to a better world is to be willing to feel the pain, give it its due, acknowledge it, and then begin the work to heal the wound. True for individuals, true for groups, just true. You can’t heal if you don’t feel it.
How are you feeling?