Just stay calm.  Easier said than done.

The other day I had volunteered to help at a center set up for fire evacuees and found myself swamped almost immediately with inquiries, needs, patiently waiting people, things coming at me from too many directions,  and the enormity of the challenge overwhelmed me temporarily.

I was on a learning curve, to be sure, but the sheer volume of displaced people in our province at the moment is staggering.  It was heart-warming for me to see the residents of our community stepping forward – the white boards that people could write down what they could do for the evacuees were full, full of offers for housing, pet care, places for live-stock.  Volunteers are amazing.

I’m reminded of the statement I often use when visiting with those in waiting rooms at the hospital.  It’s all about hurry up and wait.

In our province, people have fled from the fires, some with minutes to spare, with little with them, to find themselves in waiting rooms, line-ups, and the waiting can be difficult.  The unknowing is the worst of all.

And yet, so many I’ve seen are grateful and taking it in stride.  Others are frustrated, and often, justifiably so.

How does one stay calm?

Breathing helps.  Deep breaths, breathing in deeply, letting out the tension.

Gratefulness helps. I believe firmly that there is always something to be grateful for, even though it can be very challenging.  I met with a person recovering from a stroke the other day, struggling with paralysis.  This is not easy to be sure.  But I could have a conversation with her, and I told her how wonderful that was, that she still had a voice.  Her demeanor changed… something to be grateful for in the midst of a trial!

Helping helps!   I love looking around me, looking at the helpers, the encouragers, those who give a cheerful smile, and a encouraging word.  I am inspired by them.  Helping gives us something to do, and there is always work to be done.

Praying helps.  “I lift up my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from?  It comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”  A beautiful verses, a scriptural prayer that we can pray and it brings comfort.  Another new favourite verse is from Exodus 14:14 which says, The Lord will fight for you, just stay calm!

None of us are in control.  We do what we can, and it is a calm presence that also encourages others around who might be panicked or afraid.  I am inspired by this, can I be a calm presence in my world?

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