I don’t usually struggle to decide a topic for this blog. But this week I just felt worn, frazzled, uninspired. (They say caring for a toddler and preschooler day after day when you are 70 plus will do that to you!) But somewhere in the recesses of my mind a phrase “moral fatigue” drifted up to my conscience awareness. I couldn’t quite recall exactly to what it referred. So, of course, I googled it.
The term originated in the nursing field where the nature of their work requires constant decision-making that has potential consequences. Even those of us not on the medical front now face everyday choices that during the pandemic could have consequences that affect our health, the health of loved ones and that of our communities. Moral fatigue is defined as being confronted with difficult situations where “the right thing to do” is unclear and fraught with “what-ifs,” according to the Providence Health Team.
“Whether it’s trying to decide if you should visit a sick family member, order delivery, take public transit, or take a trip to the grocery store, we now have to think through the potential implications of many of our totally normal, everyday actions and decisions in a way we never had to before, because of how they could affect others,” the author of a Rolling Stones article wrote this spring. He noted that this is “exhausting.” (Do tell!!)
Once when I went to the grocery store early in the Covid 19 shutdown the shelves were absolutely wiped out of any candy. I have seen reference online to folks buying larger clothing due to weight gain. I myself consider chocolate a survival tool. Everyone indeed needs a survival kit. Best it includes other “tools” besides food and drink!
Some of the things I do include reminding myself that there have been people throughout history who have overcome difficult, even horrific experiences. I seek to give thanks daily as the day begins for yet another day and pray to “stay tethered” to God’s Spirit. Though my days are focused on child care and household tasks I seek to take pleasure in them. When I have opportunities, I journal or read or rest. Thus far we have had beautiful weather and we get out every day to a park. At night when I put Sebastian to bed, we talk about our blessings that day. I recognize some days are harder than others to live by these tenets. But these help keep me going. Blessings as you develop your own survival kits and make the best use of your tools.
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café Bonus: Consider doing some gentle stretches and brewing some Lavender-Chamomile Tea. The recipe from Eating Well suggests that “the scent alone of this stress-relieving tea will lead you to relaxation.” Mix 1 (2g) bag of 1tsp chamomile or 1 T. fresh chamomile; 1/2t. dried lavender or 1 ½ T. fresh lavender; ½ t. dried mint or 1 ½ T. fresh mint coarsely chopped and 1 c. boiling water. Allow to steep for 15 minutes and strain.
As you sip your tea, you could sit enjoying silence, perhaps read a poem or allow this blessing to sink in: “And now may the mystery, wonder and peace of God’s presence, fall upon you like a soft gentle rain, soaking into your heart to comfort you, to mind you, and to make you whole.” (A Blessing of Presence by Bob Holmes).