Reading was tough for me. My comprehension was a bit slow, compounded by the slowness at which I read. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading and I was able to do so very early in my life, but I would have to re-read things to ensure understanding often. The stress of reading for class and then being tested on it forced me to take my time while not taking my time (figure that one out!). However, when I was able to read for pleasure, the doors opened for comprehension. My enjoyment was not encumbered by assessment stress. One of my early favorites was Judy Blume.
When I read “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” in Fourth Grade, I found a new author to devour. I read Beverly Cleary along with anything regarding Greek mythology but Judy was different. It’s like she knew what it meant to be in my head. Friends would talk about how funny she was in her writing but for me, I knew she just understood my vantage point.
A friend read “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret” and she told me that she cried. She cried because Judy helped her to know she was okay. This friend was so uncertain in herself – her place, her gifts, her friends and fitting in – that the relief from this book was palpable. It helped this friend come out of her shell a bit and become encouraging to her peers. When she shared this view with me I realized that it was the same for me. Judy spoke to my uncertainty.
The world is full of uncertainty. As much as we feign “woke-ness,” we struggle to be who we think we are or who we want to be. We look to others for assurance, our bank accounts for security and our work for esteem. When there are cracks in the foundation, our uncertainty comes crashing in. Consider a pandemic like COVID-19 and you may find a whole new level of stress and anxiety due to these unchartered waters. The uncertainty can be stifling.
Dealing with this uncertainty requires a moment. More specifically, taking a moment. Sit back and center. This might include some light meditation and controlled breathing. This moment might include a refocus on the commitments made or a focus on ones to be made. This moment might be to identify those mental distractors and call them out for what they are. This moment might be to express some emotion and then to respond to the release with the next step to take (no wallowing).
And like Margaret, find friends. Find a few who feel as you do or who can appreciate how/why you feel as you do. Share, laugh, emote, encourage and spur. Your ability to equip is internal and external. Uncertainty will always be a real consideration, but it has power for only as much as we give it. There is no way of knowing how this Coronavirus pandemic will turn out, but we can take action to minimize its impact on us and our sphere of influence. We should do that. Take the moment, center and act; partner with others.
Herein is the opportunity to then help others. Those employees, family members, friends and teammates are struggling to a degree. Be the Margaret they need. Rally the troops and face the uncertainty together. Solutions will appear and you will know where you’re going.