Healing as a Community

Posted By: Emma Faulkner Chamber News,

Needless to say, many of us--both local and beyond--are reeling from the tragic events in Watauga County that led to the loss of 5 lives a few days ago. 

There are so many "If only...." and "What if...." conversations running through our minds right now and we want so badly to have prevented this.  Since we are helpless to change the situation, we are left, instead, to deal with it. 
But, how does anyone begin deal with something such as this?
It seems that community is part of the equation. I have been touched to see how we are mourning together--pouring out our support and love in so may directions and in so many ways. Hugs, kind words, notes, phone calls, visits and care packages are just some of the things we have to offer to one another in times of distress.  In fact, these are impressive tools at all times because too often we do not know the anguish someone is experiencing and how these might be life saving gestures. 

I am reminded of the traumas that our children so often experience, and while they are certainly not the same as what happened, the feelings of fear and grief are akin to what we're all feeling right now.  A big difference is that these struggles are not known in the larger community. They are battles fought quietly and often alone. Sometimes Western Youth Network is the only witness to the suffering, and often even we don't know the depths of the pain.

I believe each of us is stronger when we all reach out. Perhaps we have a conversation with someone while waiting in line, compliment someone, or find a way to offer patience instead of frustration and understanding instead of judgement.  It may not feel natural, but we can be sure these small gestures will make a big difference.  

A quote by an unknown author has been in my head recently: 
"A physician once said 'The best medicine for humans is love.'
Someone asked 'What if it doesn't work?'
He smiled and said 'Increase the dose." 

May we give and receive the love that heals us in the days to come. 

Jennifer Warren

Executive Director, Western Youth Network