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I recently was having a spiritual focused conversation with someone who asked me where I got my strength from? I had been reflecting to her on what a difficult, dismal and outright depressing time this is for our country and world.

Her question definitely made me pause and think, which obviously was the goal of her asking it, afterall. I hadn’t in a long time asked myself that question, though in my work I often do ask it to others. Sometimes I phrase it as a metaphor of replenishing our well/reservoir or recharging our batteries, but strength is a bit more nuanced than seeing that “100% charged” green light in our inner soul.

I told my spiritual companion about my daily prayer ritual, including journaling and praying the rosary on meditative walks, and how these were daily sources of my strength. In addition, I strive to bring Jesus into my daily activities, saying a quick prayer before a meeting or conversation or even offering up a prayer to Mary, our Lady of the highways and byways, when embarking on a drive in the car.

Our conversation then veered into the range of suffering that is going on in the world and specifically right here in the U.S. - you don’t need me to list out the atrocities, as they are there as constant reminders on our phones, laptops, TV’s and podcasts. I posed the dilemma about feeling guilty of taking my own desolation to Jesus, which pales in comparison to the desolation of the families in Uvalde whose children and mothers/wives/nieces/aunts/friends were killed.

My companion gently and graciously reminded me that Jesus’ love, compassion, healing and grace are big, wide, deep and vast enough for all of us, no matter the pain and suffering. Ahhh….I felt a deep sigh within me. This in itself was a relief to hear, a kind of balm to carry around and remember to soothe myself in!

Jesus is enough for all of us, in all circumstances. As we are collectively trying to find a way forward in our lives, trying our best to take it one day at a time, one step at a time, let us bring all of ourselves to Him and remember to ask ourselves “where do I get my strength?” You may be pleasantly surprised by your answer.

Ellen Kelly is a spiritual director. She earned a MTS from The Jesuit School of Theology

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