Send Prayers Not Panic

flowersMy daughter broke her arm in April. The mini-crisis provided me with a case study in how we cope with stress.

Here’s a typical conversation:

Friend: I’m so glad she’s OK, I couldn’t sleep the night that I heard the news.
G: Your reaction is what I expected. You know, I wonder if the most compassionate thing to do is let situations resolve themselves and not trigger a massive wave of worry through the community. Worry is a distraction from what matters.

Friend: What about prayer? I believe in the power of prayer to help heal Lexi.
G: So do I, and thank you for your prayer. However, looking deeper, was it prayer that kept you up at night? For every prayer we received, I felt so much worry. I don’t think the worry is productive.

In fact, I have seen situations where not communicating with someone triggers anger (because they were denied the opportunity to worry on my behalf).

It’s an interesting conundrum.

I’ve been watching a similar pattern play out, on a larger scale, with the health of Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the greatest teachers of my lifetime. During the small crisis in our family, I followed the lead of this larger community.

I focused on getting expert support for my daughter.

Within my inner circle, I let people express themselves fully, answered their questions and followed up to address their concerns.

…and life continued onwards.