Building Trust and Engaging in Creative Play

God created us to be connected. We all desire to belong. When we deny ourselves those connections, we lose a sense of who we are. Dealing with trauma tends to put us on edge and we are more apt to take offense at minor missteps like knocking on the wrong door.

Two years of living life in a pandemic thrust us in greater isolation than ever before. This has caused many changes in the patterns of our social participation. Subsequently, children in schools are dealing with higher levels of social anxiety and depression. They are relearning how to relate to kids their own age and their teachers. Our children have new deficits that they acquired during isolation. Our elders have also suffered from extended periods without the visits from neighbors and friends. Adults have suspended activities including attending weekly religious services. We have lost social connections that were a routine part of our lives before the pandemic. We have forgotten how to be civil. How do we reestablish our community connections?

For a little less than a year we have been working toward a new normal in our lives. People are returning to live sporting events, concerts, theatrical performances, and other communal activities.  Yet have we tried to rebuild our social networks and communities of relationships? Studies suggest that participation in our faith communities increases our overall wellbeing and sense of belonging. According to the Pew Research Center, “regular participation in a religious community clearly is linked with higher levels of happiness and civic engagement,” (January 31, 2019).

            God created us to be connected. We all desire to belong. Belonging to our families, to our workplaces, to our faith communities, and our friendship networks are a natural part of what it means to be human. When we deny ourselves those connections, we lose a sense of who we are. Our sense of self is diminished. Dealing with trauma tends to put us on edge and we are more apt to take offense at minor missteps like knocking on the wrong door. We are lacking a sense of safety in our communities in part because we have forgotten how to build relationships based on mutuality and trust. How do we increase trusting relationships in our lives?

Continue reading “Building Trust and Engaging in Creative Play”

Leaders Need Sabbatical Rest in these Traumatic Times

During a 2022 sabbatical visit to Washington D.C. MLK Memorial.

People’s nerves have worn thin. Parents are weary with worry. Job openings remain unfilled. Employees are working overtime to take care of increased needs and demands. They are burned out and are walking out on good jobs. We are all suffering from compassion fatigue.

I recently witnessed this as I undertook a long trip made longer by frayed ends and frazzled emotions. Carefully, I watched travelers and airline staff alike, all doing their best and losing their cool.  We are under stress—high levels of expectations with new protocols and a river of fear running through it all. Leaders of all kinds have seen the worst end of ugly and received the angry brunt of a public who has lost all hope that their life can be restored to a time before the pandemic began.

Continue reading “Leaders Need Sabbatical Rest in these Traumatic Times”

Faith & Fault-lines in a Pandemic

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Poverty is the Pandemic

We are not in the same boat.  We are not in the same storm.  In fact, an economic storm has been raging all along and we have left many without a boat or paddle to weather the most recent epidemic to hit Rock County, Wisconsin.  Continue reading “Faith & Fault-lines in a Pandemic”