In quick succession our country has cycled through new phenomena like "election trauma" and, now, what some are calling "executive order fatigue." We've been told we should get used to this abrupt shock to the system and that this is what we were promised.
That may be, but I also have heard from a number of people who voted for President Trump with far different hopes from the current chaos – hopes for betterment like new jobs, better healthcare, and less government oversight. Those people express significant dissatisfaction with the current status.
Instead, all voters have been discovering the extent to which people in the current administration purposely set out to induce severe stress on American citizens.
While such extreme stress is not new, and sadly has happened before in our country and around the world, for a vast majority of citizens it is not acceptable. Thankfully, many people, across faith traditions, professional sectors, socio-economic backgrounds, and political aisles have worked hard and are continuing to work hard to ensure basic civil liberties are upheld throughout American territories. Further, many congregations and faith communities around the country have been sanctuaries to incubate these actions for the health and well-being of our nation.
Clearly, there's a ways to go, though.
To better understand the impacts of recent brash actions by national government, not only on refugees and migrants but on civic officials as well, hear the words of Democrat Washington State Governor and multiple Republican Senators.
The ongoing severe stress citizens in your community and around our country are experiencing will not dissipate easily, especially without intentional corporate and neighborly care.
Toward this relief and to help counter impacts of stress and hate, some faith communities have offered vigils (including Texas, Arkansas, and California, to name a few), created interactive prayer stations of the cross, and made clear statements about how current executive orders are injurious to communities. Practical, embodied care like these acts makes a tremendous difference in lifting spirits and generating collective repair.
How is your congregation responding this week? Share what has been most helpful to your community in the comments.
Would you like more resources on how to assess impacts of stress and trauma and to practice effective care? You can find them at the ICTG online training menu.
Rev. Dr. Kate Wiebe is a pastoral psychotherapist, congregational care consultant, and the Director of the Institute for Congregational Trauma and Growth.
From 2012-2020, this blog space explored expanding understanding and best practices for leadership and congregational care.