Since the inauguration I have felt much of what other's have already articulated: anxious, nauseous, fearful, and depressed. I want to curl up on my sofa with a remote and binge watch every romantic comedy Netflix has to offer. It may not be everyone's idea of a great escape, but I want something to take me away from the horrors of the daily political news.
And I recognize this feeling; not from previous experience, but by description. In one of the required pastoral care classes I took in seminary, the professor described a hypothetical woman who may come into my hypothetical pastor's office someday- and she will be feeling completely overwhelmed by whatever her situation is. The situation has taken her focus, her energy, and her hope. (Exactly!)
The professor continued: "For this woman, it will be as if a pot of spaghetti has exploded all over the kitchen. She will not be able to see a solution, as she is too focused on the enormity of the mess. There are noodles all over the walls for god's sake! Your job as a pastoral counselor, is to show her how to carefully clean up the kitchen; and you do it by helping her take down one strand of spaghetti at a time."
This metaphor makes so much sense in our current political climate, with a minor modification (thank GOD!). I am not standing in the kitchen by myself! WE are the ones standing in the center of that room staring at the spaghetti on the walls- at the very least, we have each other.
I know this doesn't offer much comfort. Nor does it lessen the enormity of the problem. On the contrary, it seems a new pot explodes every day, adding new pasta layers, rotini, fussili, and worst of all pastina (that small sticky noodle that dries like concrete) threatening to cover all we can see. However...
Before we allow ourselves to shut down or implode (both are possible) take a breath. Then take another breath. When your heart rate begins to normalize again, take the hand of the person next to you, and go after just one strand of spaghetti. If each of us tackles just one small piece, specifically the strand closest to our hearts, we can have a shot at seeing something we recognize as our kitchen once again. We all live here together; No one has the burden of cleaning up this mess alone.