Life is a copious amount of coping. An abundance of attempts. A ongoing trial to try and escape that sorrow and fear of which you are in denial.
You flash that external smile, and the happiness that surfaces keeps all the people and places in perspective. Yet you turn the lights off, retreating to the dark. The emptiness, the bleak walls, they collapse on the heartbeat, and there in the echoing streets you sit and freeze and wonder whether the people and places are worth all the energy you expend at their feet.
The tears don’t come. The heart doesn’t cry. You suppressed all those emotions. You listened to that voice. You forgot vulnerability could be strength. You stabbed your own strength with that dart of death.
The eyes stare straight ahead. The head buzzes and muffles.
Sheets, pillows, bed.
No comfort here. Nope.
Not coping. Nope.
Not hoping. Nope.
“You’re not alone”
Yeah, thanks for that friend.
“I know how you feel”
Really? I don’t know how to feel. I don’t know what I’m feeling.
So where do you come in again?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
“Remember the feelings of the good times. Those rare days of joy without pain? They’ll come again”
Will they? Will they really? Or are you just saying that?
“You can’t see that I’m hurting. You don’t notice the pain.
It feels like everyone else is sitting in the sunshine, while I drown in the rain.”
– Unknown –
How can we cope?
How can we cope when there seems to be no hope?
When the child gets run over on the road and the school gets shot and the planes disappear and the loved ones lose their life and the slums are forgotten as the shoppers shop until the money runs dry, but what of those in drought with no water supply, what of those with the mind that spirals down, down, into the darkest confines.
What do you turn to when the going gets tough? Do you retreat into yourself?
Or do you expel onto your external world the chaotic churning of your emotions?
As a society, we know how to “COPE”. Yet, we only ‘know’ so that we can put on a good show. We don’t really know how to COPE.
We often don’t want to confront our own emotions, let alone confront others about our emotions. So we can often close ourselves off, and close ourself off from what our heart is actually yearning for – community.
We can’t forget the CO in cope.
CO, the prefix, is a joint, a common point, a mutual form.
To be human is to share in the common. Yet the common has begun to conform and the common has started to look like only compliments and pretty things, when really, the common is also the deformities, the weaknesses, the hurts, pains, and anger that bursts from the mundane.
Oftentimes the comrades you’ll confide to won’t know how to comment, or they won’t make the right comment. But that’s alright. We need to learn to be content not with the content or conditions of a life, but with a constant commitment to communion.
Communion (n.) is the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, those deep emotions, the ones that touch you at a mental or spiritual level.
We cope through communion. We cope by being in communion.
A shared participation. Shared experiences.
Why do we retreat and forget that we need company to COPE? How can we COPE without cooperating, collaborating, coordinating with others? Why do we compare and condemn and only worsen our ability to COPE? Why do we connect more to technology, to our devices, than to the faces that are familiar with our fears and failures. Faces of friendship. Faces that will help shape the fullness of a life.
The ability to COPE comes from conditioning. Conditioning takes time.
Conditioning is constant just as COPING is constant.
Coping through communion and community requires communication.
Don’t forget to communicate where you are at with others helps you to enter that jointness, that commonality, that mutual experience and emotion that all humans will encounter. Put the CO in COPE by tapping into that vulnerability, that darkness, that raw, honest, salty territory that we usually suppress.
Collect the tears of others. Come to COPE through finding HOPE in the counsel of others (and if you’re Christian, the counsel of our great Counsellor, the Spirit of the living God).
Come cope, Come hope, Xx