Step #3 (in the Steps for recovering after a truly unsettling tragedy happens) is Gather with like-minded people.
This morning I attended a lecture by one of the pastors at my church about a program she runs that helps parents of other-abled children take a night off. It's a great program. This post isn't about that program (which can be found here).
This post is about me leaving my house 1-3 times a month, dragging Adam to the church-provided babysitter, and sitting in a room with other women for about 2 hours. I'm lucky to have found a church that aligns exactly with what my values are. So when I go there, I feel 100% nurtured and accepted. I can blurt out whatever insane thing my mind comes up with- and I know I'm safe. The catchphrase for the church is, we are a NICE Church: Nurturing, Inclusive, Connecting, Empowering.
Someone this morning asked why we haven't been to children's choir lately. Instead of making up something like, "we've been really busy" or "you know, just life" and making an empty promise to try to make it more often, I looked her in the eye and told the exact truth, "We've been having a lot of trouble with Sawyer lately, and we've decided to pause our extra activities until we can figure out how to help him be ok with himself and the world around him."
The week after the November election, I sat at a table as a leader of a group of women, and we all took deep breaths and cried. We said all the things we'd been holding in so we could appear strong to our families and "not crazy" to our friends. We just let it out, and brainstormed next-steps, and I felt better as I was leaving.
Don't get me wrong- everyone needs their close circle of friends. Jesus is there when there's even just two of us together (how did this post get so religious today???). But when there's more, and you can look around and know an entire pyramid of people share your dreams for our Earth and our future and our children, THAT'S the empowerment you need to keep going in tough times. Stronger Together. I'm SO glad I took the social-situation risk a while back and started Gathering with women. I've gotten SO much more out of it than I ever imagined I would.