How Do We Tend Our Emotions in a Time of Crisis?

Whether emotions
are locked up or dismissed,
for many, emotions live
in the untouchable zone,
a gray fog beyond our reach

Yet, emotions are a deep indicator of our well-being,
an invitation to honor the messages they bring.

In this time of crisis, I have to ask,
how are we tending to our emotions?

There’s a narrative out there
that tells us certain emotions are
“good” and others are “bad.”

There’s a narrative out there
that claims men need
to keep their emotions in check.

There’s a narrative out there
that warns us to listen to “facts;”
emotions can’t be trusted.

With these types of stories, tell me—
where does all the emotion go?

Anger buried in the underbelly of our homes.
Sadness sent to the corners of dark closets.
Anxiety hidden in our bustling lifestyles.

We tell ourselves,
“Just. Keep. Going.”

the body breaks or
the path twists or
the blame bends.

or, until,
a pandemic tells us to stop.

I keep thinking of the children
whose mere presence causes
red hot words to fling reckless;
where school was a safe haven
and home is a prison,
where emotions have never been
navigated with grace and love.

And, I’m asking—

How do we tend our emotions in a time of crisis?

Emotions make us uncomfortable.

It’s unnerving to see our own tears,
hear resentment spill from our lips,
be a loving witness to our anxiety
when we’ve been taught
“God is with us” and
“Do Not Fear”.

How does God love us, here, in our weakness?


How do we love ourselves, here, in such vulnerability?

Certainly, these days,
our emotions are stirring.
We’ve been told to “stay home.”
Old ways of living are hanging on like wet glue.
We don’t know what to “do.”

If we aren’t mindful,
we’ll fill our days with news, articles and social media,
remaining in our “head” space.

But, in the place of quiet possibility,
in this stillness,
awaits healing for our heavy hearts.

We’re invited into this haven right now.
Where Christ meets us in our distress
and gives room for our expression.

But, we must honor the lower regions of our body,
not only our mind, but our heart and gut.

Go ahead—

Light a candle.
Grab a piece of paper.
Colored pencils if you have them.
Take a deep breath.
Ask what uncomfortable emotion is stirring.
Draw this as a line, a swirl. Feel into it.
Name it. Write it. Honor it. Thank it.

Now, ask a loving emotion
to arise as a friend to your first emotion.

Draw a bowl.
Fill your bowl with this loving emotion.
Give it a whimsical name:
Beaming Sparkles
Ocean Calm
Starry Hope

Let the love spill from the bowl and soothe your first emotion.

Allow the love you have within
flow from your hands and create a visual
of the Spirit you hold within.

How do we tend to our emotions in a time of crisis?

We allow them. We make room to express them through
pen, paint, color, movement, dance, song, breath —
So that, in this great time of need,
we don’t react, but become a harmless people
who are beacons of light for a hurting world.