It feels like a weird time, doesn't it? Or is just me?

I'm baffled by the lack of movement on gun control issues, more than four years after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Too many people in our country have been killed since that day.

The people in Aleppo are being bombarded ... still.

The man we elected to be our president seems to lack compassion for the very people he is leading and seems to lack respect for the office he is holding.

With all that, I add a friend who is ill and other friends who are caring for aging parents with complex health issues.

Today at my kitchen table I am picturing a mom like me, huddled in a tiny room with her kids at her feet, trying frantically to text a goodbye to loved ones, so certain is she of her death.

All of this makes me wonder: why am I here in this warm home with a full fridge and enough blankets to share. What is my point?

I am compelled to read stories - the stories of people who turn tragedy into a life that shines not with success but with vitality. How do I live in troubled times, with the problems that loom large - when I am only one?

When my husband rolls out of bed and hits the ground running, he knows how many people he will care for. Twenty or more people will come through his door for an office visit in various increments of time ranging from 15 to 60 minutes. He will say through word and gesture, "I am here to help you." That, to me, seems perfect. He has a record of people he has helped - a tangible list and a paper trail to prove it.

My life looks nothing like that.

I wake up, the pets gather, I drink my coffee and read. I think about what I'm reading. I see if my charges are up. We do the family breakfast dance and after a flurry they are gone. I wrestle with my pages, I make appointments and organize groups of people to do this (practice compassionate listening) or that (speak up about women's rights). I tidy and manage a family life.

I come back to write and look at my charges who want to eat (again!) and I am grateful I can feed them. I do not have to text my loved ones goodbye. The normal of my life is not in direct proportion to the normal of our world. I am the odd one out, carrying on as is.

I care, I try, I seek, I look, I offer, I hold, I look, I resist, I attend, I retreat, I listen, I speak, I move, I rest, I wait.

Does anyone really know what to do in such dark days like these? I carry on believing I cannot be the only one.

Lisa Gray lives in Winona and blogs at

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