A person surviving The News is like a growing tree. You can’t rush the process. If a tree grows too fast, it will snap – unable to sustain the weight of it all. A tree can’t grow up without first growing down. The same is true of you, survivor. You can’t rush through to the “look how seasoned and wise I am” part; you’re going to have to send down some roots. If you rush it, you’ll snap. The News is too heavy. The weight of the truth – of your new reality - is going to take some time to be able to bear – you’ve got to grow into it, to grow up under it.
That you cannot rush the process is terrible news, because it means you have to sit with the hurt. You cannot skip this step. You can delay it – that’s called denial – but you can’t skip it. If you delay it for a decade, it will find you on the eve of the eleventh year, and it will hurt just as badly as it did on day 1.
But it’s also great news, because the pressure’s off. You need to grieve, so grieve. Smash glass vases. Cry all night. Throw pillows and remote controls around the living room. Scream at the sky. Eat burgers and fries every night for a week. Or don’t eat anything at all. You are not unhinged.
You will go through the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Give each one the time it needs. Send your roots down.
Eventually, you will have enough roots, and it will be time to push up. Eventually you will be able to say, “This is how I am stronger. This is what I learned. This is how I was carried. This is how my deep compassion and empathy and mission were birthed: through those labor pains. Eventually you will be able to grow up through it and see the redemptive purpose – the sustaining hand. But you can’t rush it. If you rush it, you’ll snap.
If you are surviving The News, just wake up and show up. Take your time. Send your roots down. Carve out space for yourself. Just do the next right thing, and remember that sometimes the next right thing is lunch.
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*and eat them myself because you live too far away.