Daily Connector | Hold the tension | David Emch

The rains came! Here in Thailand, from somewhere around mid-November until mid-April we don’t see any rain. And, in the midst of no rain the farmers begin to burn their old crops. The pollution gets pretty bad. Really bad, actually. As soon as April comes we start to check the skies for rain clouds and praying that they come sooner than later.

This year, right smack dab in the middle of the burning season, we found ourselves in the midst of a pandemic. Don’t go outside, you say? Already planning on staying inside. 

A perfect storm of horrible.

Then a couple of weeks ago the rains came and the air was breathable again! And if that wasn’t enough, several short days later, after nearly three weeks of single-digit newly reported cases, the Thai government has started to slowly open things back up again!

There is a particular song that we sing at CMC that keeps playing through my head as I see people out and about again. “Hallelujah, the great storm is over…”

A friend once made an astute observation, “David, you enjoy irony, don’t you?” I do. I’m also a hopeful person…

But, enough of that.

Two competing thoughts keep banging around in my head:
1) Collective trauma – The psychological reactions to a traumatic event that affect an entire society.
And the second is a quote from Brad Montague,
2) “Here is something always true and very easy for us to miss, no matter who or where you are; it won’t always be like this.”

I struggle to know how to hold the tension of both sides. I work with children and adolescents as a mental health therapist. One of my kids will be unfazed by the pandemic, the very next one will be having panic attacks caused by the fear of getting sick, and then ping-pong back to another kid that doesn’t even seem to remember that we’re in the midst of what is a collective trauma. So, for me, back and forth, hope and worry, anticipation and reticence, ready to jump back into the fray and hesitating to leave the house.

For now, I’m holding onto something that a lot of my kids and I talk about: Most things in life make us feel more than one emotion. Our job is to honestly feel whichever emotion we’re feeling in each individual moment.

Today, I can see the mountain from my house, my neighborhood restaurant has reopened (with a lot fewer tables), and rain is in the forecast for later this afternoon. So, right now, I’m feeling hopeful.