The Storm Within

In response to last week’s post, one reader wrote “The storms that rage within us are sometimes equally powerful with those that rage around us.”  How true!

Brianna Wiest, in an article that I discovered on something called the Thought Catalog, concurs.  “Being in an internal conflict can be one of the most stressful and devastating things in life, far beyond being in an external conflict.  This is because in an external conflict, you ultimately ‘win’ or ‘lose,’ and are forced to accept that outcome.  When you’re struggling with an internal conflict, it feels as though there is no good way to resolve it, because either way you are going to lose somehow.”

Wiest names eight types of internal conflict to include: moral conflict, sexual conflict, religious conflict, political conflict, love conflict, self-image conflict, interpersonal conflict and existential conflict.  On this Memorial Day weekend, I think particularly of existential conflict.  The author uses the example that “someone can believe that war is an ultimate evil and is never excusable, but when certain precedents are presented that necessitate some kind of conflict for the sake of protecting other human beings, that person may find themselves unable to discern what the ‘right’ thing to do is.”

I first knew my now husband when he was in graduate school, only recently having been released from the army, where he had served two tours in Vietnam.  I had no idea how he was struggling to come to terms with having to kill or be killed.  He had the benefit of other vets who were also in the School of Social Work and a field instructor who helped him with that struggle.  A bright student, he threw himself into his studies, another aspect of his healing, as he prepared himself to serve in a helping profession.  He was fortunate to have these resources as this was before PTSD was officially recognized in 1980, which resulted in more services being offered.

We honor those who lost their lives, and those who struggle to manage theirs.

 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:  I may come back to some of the other eight types of internal conflict in future posts.  For now I leave you with this quote from Anatomy of Peace:  “Sometimes we might be forced to defend ourselves….But that is a different thing than saying that we are forced to despise, to rage, to denigrate, to belittle.”

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