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Active Aging Week: A reflection on Emotional Wellness Day

Emotional WellnessWe continue in Active Aging Week by highlighting a devotional on today's theme of Emotional Wellness.

By Chaplain Jenny Schroedel, Optage Hospice   

What a strange autumn. The roads are mostly quiet, with many students learning online. Shops are shuttered, restaurants mostly empty. Still, the leaves are extraordinary: amber and crimson, spinning gently down.
The other day, while stopped at a light, a passenger from the car in front of me jumped out. She scanned the curb, grabbed a leaf and got back in. It’s somehow comforting that the trees still know just what to do.
Across our PHS communities, we tread with care, knowing that Covid-19 remains a threat. Our efforts to contain the virus have cost us all in meaningful ways, and we feel it this fall. In the grief groups I facilitate I see remarkable resilience along with a desire to prepare for the coming winter.
Here are some suggestions:

  • Make Meaningful Connections. In the beginning of the pandemic, we spoke of "social distance." It's better to think of physical distance and strong connections. Think of a person who makes you laugh or inspires you. Call them. A little bit of connection goes a long way to make us feel less alone.
  • Reach Out. Find someone in need of comfort. Offer your prayers. Loan a favorite book, clip a newspaper article and slip it under a door. Ask how someone is and sit quietly as they answer. Be that balm and you may find healing yourself.
  • Reach In. The news is overwhelming. Limit media consumption. Try for thirty minutes a day. Even Jesus needed to withdraw sometimes. Take silence when you need it. 
  • Remember Who Holds You. Each of us, in our own way, is holding so much right now. Think of all that you do, all that you are unable to do, all that you long for, all that ache. And then remember who holds you through it all.  

In his poem "Autumn" Rainer Maria Rilke writes, "The leaves fall, fall as from far…They fall with slow and lingering descent." This fits this season of letting go, reaching out and reaching in, remembering who we are and who holds it all. As Rilke reminds us, "But there is One who holds this falling Infinitely softly in His hands."

You can find a video of today’s devotional, plus more Active Aging resources, on the Virtual Life Enrichment Library

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