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Rest and joy sustain us
I’ve spent the last few days editing coverage of the horrific shooting at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Before that, I spent a week editing stories about the horrific shooting at a grocery store in a Black neighbourhood in Buffalo, New York. Before that, two weeks editing articles about the end of abortion rights in America.
I’m proud of our team’s coverage, but I’m exhausted. We’re all exhausted. We’re overwhelmed by trauma and loss and grief to the point of numbness, unable to finish processing one nightmare before the next one begins.
Which is why, hard as it is, this is the time to take rest and joy seriously.
I realize that seems impossible right now, and perhaps even unethical. Who are we to be resting and seeking joy right now, when so many people are hurting and their communities have been shredded by violence and hate? Isn’t it our responsibility to hurt with them, to bear witness to their suffering, and commit to doing whatever we can to spare anyone else that pain?
Yes. And rest and joy are essential if we want to keep that commitment.
Shock and outrage are short-term motivations. They’re powerful, but they’ve got a short shelf life, and when they’re gone, we’re often left feeling drained and demoralized.
Rest and joy are what sustain us in the long term. They’re what allow us to form community and hold each other up. They’re what keep us coming back to do the work of making the world a better place, week after week and year after year.
Rest and joy are what prevent us from becoming permanently exhausted, and cynical. And preventing exhaustion and cynicism—which I know might feel impossible right now—is so important. Because exhausted, cynical people are far easier to manipulate and control than people who are rested and hopeful.
Do what you can to rest and seek joy this week. For me, that means naps, longer than usual walks with my dog, and romance novels. Here are some that I’ve loved of late:
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, by Sarah MacLean (historical)
Tanked, by Mia Hopkins (contemporary, with COVID in the background)
It Happened One Summer, by Tessa Bailey (contemporary, without COVID in the background)
That’s it from me. Thanks, as always, for reading.