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These are dense materials to wade through…maybe I see the world differently. Emotions are energy in my way of thinking and can be channeled. Those emotions make us happy, sad, and everything in the middle. Figley’s emotional list can seemed exhausting, but I am about reframing. As I pour compassion into situations and people, it seems renewing a situation is like pouring oil into a dried surface. I acknowledge that I am part of a chaplain team and when support is needed, it is available. I would imagine that given some of the situations I have read about with several of you, there needs to be a place, a wilderness where you retreat to renew. Perhaps for me that is coming home each day to find my family. Those smiles and jokes, the spirit of being with these precious folks fills my heart full. The empty nest will come in time, but thanks to the coronavirus, that is not now. Even with added groceries, laundry, life experiences, we joy in being family.
As I read, I was struck with the word: soul sadness. I have used “soul wound” but not soul sadness and want to sit with that term in relationship to those I have worked with Major Depressive Disorder. I also see that term from working in the trauma center, triage nurses seemed to reflect this term. They became numb to the gun-shot wound victim and those who arrived with emotional reactivity; they became numb to the trauma because it protected their own ability work in such challenging situations. There seemed like a callous growing over the heart of the care-giver due to repeated weariness. Perhaps there were adrenaline highs but no resolve to see the outcome. Sometimes I wish E.D. staff would receive the patients that really taxed their energy return later to show them the healing process and to thank the E.D. staff so the staff could breathe in renewed purpose from seeing the healing health process full-circle. Perhaps caregivers are numb because the boundaries are fuzzy. As the article states, borders create an awareness of identity. As a chaplain I seek to help each patient quest for wholeness: dignity, theodicy struggles, there is the incredible sense of powerlessness that arises from vulnerability, and the longing heart for healing. Each of these is a tough space to be in and walk along with one struggling to discern meaning and value. Thanks for the timely reading!