…today’s secret…Coping in these turbulent times.

Last week I discussed how we are in the most dangerous years of an eighty-year cycle. We are half-way into our current forty-year cycle.

I know. Mr. Doom and Mr. Gloom here.

We have stopped fighting for the common good and are now just fighting among ourselves. Historically, we’ve been here before where our world seems out of control.

Good news. Individually, you do have a lot more control than you think.

Here are two prevalent coping suggestions for today’s tough times:

  1. You can die and leave all this turmoil behind. Alcohol and drugs help.
  2. You can pick a single issue and be forcefully for or against it.

Since you now know where and why our society is culturally…you can lead people around like a calf on a rope for your issue…or you can just grab a torch and join other villagers protesting outside the gates.

Being forcefully for or against something can make you a lot of friends. It’s really good drama if you like living in a rage.

However, if you just want to survive these ugly years with some sanity and maybe help your fellow man along the way…here’s some less volatile things you can start thinking about doing:

  1. Stay calm. It is more difficult than ever to make sense of our world. Unrelenting change is happening faster than we can problem solve. Act as though you are not participating in this chaos. You know it’s here, but what the hell? Be cool.
  2. Listen. Most people never listen. When other people talk, listen completely. Try and understand, truly, what the other side is saying. Don’t be accusatory. Just listen. Think critical listening.
  3. Understand. People are pretty rabid about their worldview these days. You might be surprised what happens when you understand the other person’s issue and can calmly state that person’s point of view back to them. Generally, repeating back to them firms up your own opinion.
  4. Speak up. Don’t be afraid to express your opinion in these times. Just do so calmly. You can speak with your voice, wallet, feet, and/or vote. Edmund Burke is reported to have said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

You can’t stay silent. Sorry.

And about the people you are helping…they live in our same world.

Yes, their working model of the world may be different. Yes, they currently have some adversity. Yes, some deep affliction. Maybe it was how they were loved growing up. Something is just not allowing them to work and play well with others. Could be temporary or could be generational.

But, they are like us in that they want some stability in life. And like us, they have a desire to belong. And like us, they want to be important to something or somebody. And like us, they have a hoped-for-future.

Our hearts change agriculturally. We change our worldview slower than we think. Our values, beliefs, and motives, as with theirs, are deep-seated and have been formed over time.

So, in these tenuous times I think we, and the people you’re helping, should stay calm, listen more, take time to understand the other’s perspective, and not be afraid to speak up.

In addition, help the people you are helping by giving them your full attention when you are with them.

One common factor they share is that they have been ignored most of their life. Engage them fully, even if it is only for minutes. Look at em’. Let them know they are important with your attention. Stay present with them. You’ll be surprised how this helps.

Everything else is really above my pay grade.

Oh…one more thing. One can always dig deeper into their faith. There is plenty of help there.