A Strategy That Works For Dealing With Stress

Every time we turn on the news or scroll through our social media feeds, it seems like there is bad news to contend with. Many people have observed that all of the fear and negativity that we experience can’t help but affect our moods and our minds. On VProud there is a tongue-in-cheek video and conversation about wanting to spend Hanukkah with another. Not only is this lighthearted and positive video a welcome change, but the message is so very true and relatable.

Most of us want someone, family, friends, or a partner, to share joy with. In fact, one could say that we all simply want to find and feel joy even—especially—when times are hard. Mother, writer, and rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr reflects on this topic from the lens of someone who is trying so very hard to practice finding light in the darkness. We found Rebecca’s essay to be full of light and hope and to be especially poignant on Hanukkah, the festival of lights, and hope that you will, too.

Finding Light In The Darkness

By Rebecca Einstein Schorr for VProud

We are more than halfway through Hanukkah 2015 and, sadly, I am struggling.

The past few months have seen what seems to be an uptick in hateful speech and violent actions. The shooting in Paris. The shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. The violent death of an unarmed African-American teen in Chicago. The shooting at a center for the disabled in Southern California.

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And in the wake of these acts, vitriolic rhetoric about who belongs in our country and who doesn’t. Who the enemy is and who isn’t.

It’s overwhelming. And it’s nonstop.

A continuous loop runs through my mind as I attempt to fall asleep each day:

Am I part of the problem? 

Do I do enough to make this world safer? 

Am I guilty of White Privilege? 

Do my feelings of tighter gun control mean I don’t take the real dangers in the world seriously enough? 

Will my children return home from school or will they be a victim of gun violence? 

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They are afraid. 

Can you get PTSD just by hearing about the daily acts of violence here and around the world? 

What can be done about the hatred? 

Why is there is so much mistrust? 

What if ISIL and ISIS can never be stopped? 

What if they come for us (the Jews) next? 

Are our passports valid? 

Where would we go? 

What else should I be doing to strengthen the bonds of the community? 

What if I can’t love my neighbor? 

What if…what if…what if…

The burden of fear and mistrust and despair is taking its toll.

This is why I need Hanukkah more than ever. I need to help bring light into our darkened world. I need the warmth of candles to envelope my soul and infuse it with hope. I need the strength of the Maccabees to rise above the anger and the anguish in order to work towards a safe, inclusive, and peaceful future for my children. And for my neighbors’ children.

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