What Crisis Is All About

When we’re beset by crisis, we also begin to recognize our own vulnerability. We see that in one realm or another we, ourselves, could use some assistance. And so, from the chalice of our own need, we start reaching out for help. That’s because once we’ve been taken apart by life, we are more humble, more open, more willing to both give and receive. We take bigger chances. We speak up. We reveal ourselves. We ask. We break down. We accept comfort. Words. A blanket. A meal. In time, we realize that something amazing has happened: that the more we reach out to others, the less lonely we feel ourselves. Somehow, even in the midst of our chaos, we are actually feeling loved. And the beautiful thing is that, the more love we need, suddenly the more we have to give.

Learning to love, loving more, that’s the bottom line of what a crisis is really all about. Through it, we are being asked to expand beyond the inordinate focus on ourselves — our obsession with what we need, want, and desire — to notice what we can share, how we can serve and be of help to one another. In short, we are being asked to enlarge the circle of our love. Of course, it’s not always easy to do this. It may be unfamiliar. But when we do engage, when we see and hear and respond to one another, life starts to seem less scary. The more you get and give help, the more it seems that you will actually make it through your own unbelievably painful passage. You sense that there really is a new future. Even in the heartbreaking present you realize that you’re not alone. Not only that, but instead of wearing out your biceps holding up a thousand-pound iron defense shield in front of your heart, you can let down your guard, let down your hair, give up your pride, have a good cry, and, in gratitude, receive the love that’s coming toward you.

— Daphne Rose Kingma, The Ten Things to Do When Your Life Falls Apart, p. 169-171

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