Over the past few weeks, while reading the news, blogs and my social media feeds, I have felt as if I have been on an emotional and intellectual roller coaster. It’s all so much to process. From the deadly and devastating shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, to the Brexit vote and the global market response, to the bombing at Ataturk Airport in Isanbul, it seems that every few days there is something new that threatens to alter the very core of our understanding of what it means to be a citizen of the world. I have cried. I have yelled. I have given tzedakah. I have signed petitions – and I have also caught myself disengaging, distancing, and distracting.
I share with you this experience, my experience, because I do not think that I am alone. In these moments there is the danger that we can become numb, that we can stop feeling the pain, the sadness, the confusion, the anger, all of the many emotions, and disengage. But, as we do so, we disengage as well from the mechanisms we have at our disposal to process these events and allow them to move us to action, to empathy, and to reaching out in solidarity, partnership and support.
So, where do we go from here? How do we find the balance between burning out and becoming numb? This answer may well be different for each of us. Go running, read a novel, spend time playing with a child or grandchild, go for a walk in the Wissahickon, come to service on Shabbat or to Morning minyan, write poetry or prose – search for something that feeds and restores your neshama (soul), and once you do, harness its power to keep you in balance so that together, we can work to make this world and this planet a place that we can be proud to call home.