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What Do You Do after a Crisis?

calendarIt seems most people are willing and able to pitch in when crisis mode hits. We like to help. We look for ways to help. Then the crisis ends, you feel good for having helped and you go about your business as usual.

Maybe you’re not like that, but many times I have certainly fallen into that category.

Margaret Feinberg writes about the needs of people in crisis, the need for someone to stay with them.

Ambulance chasers are a dime a dozen; rebuilders are hard to find. Swarms of people appear on the scene of a crisis, but six months later they’re nowhere to be found. Crisis doesn’t end when the funeral is over, radiation ends, divorce papers are filed, or the lawsuit is finalized. It continues for months and even years afterward.

I know I’ve personally experienced this as well. You go through a painful trial or challenge, and lots of people are “there for you.” After a while most or all of them have trickled off. It’s hard to remember that pain doesn’t have a statute of limitations, and as much as we would like to believe it, time doesn’t heal all wounds.

As much as a person tries to get over a major trauma, there is still a process to it–one that you can’t shortcut (without derailing the process anyway). Each of us needs people who will stick around for the duration and not get sidetracked or give up.

So what do you do? Here are a mixture of some good ideas from Margaret and myself.

  1. Pray. You may share how you pray or not. That doesn’t matter. There is great power in agreeing with your brother or sister. If God does show you something specific to share, that can be a great encouragement as well.
  2. Listen. Without judgment, without trying to fix someone–you need to listen to people as they process their pain and find healing. It’s not about having some great wisdom or insight to impart. It’s following the scriptural command to “mourn with those who mourn.”
  3. Remind yourself. This is one my favorites of Margaret’s suggestions: set a reminder for yourself to check back on someone every few weeks. With calendars, on paper or smart phones or other online sources, it’s easier than ever not to lose someone in the shuffle of everyday life.

Whatever it takes. We have a command to love one another and this is such a practical step that is often overlooked. Simply staying connected through the end of challenges.

What do you think? Have you experienced either side of this? What would you add to the list to help someone stay connected to a hurting individual?

fbwj-buttonWelcome to week 14 of our discussion of Fight Back with Joy (disclosure) by Margaret Feinberg. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. If you have a response on your blog, add the link to the widget below. Either way, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for her thoughts.

Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!

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  1. Years ago, when I lost my husband, John, I went through this exact same experience. People are much more ready to have you move on instead of sticking with you as you travel that long and arduous journey of grief. I was most fortunate to have one special friend who rode out the storm with me, who was there for me week after week, month after month. Like Margaret, I cannot stress how important it is to have such support.
    Thank you, Jason, for sharing this today. Blessings!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..Which Pan Are You?My Profile

    • It’s something we perhaps know, but we need those reminders. So wonderful you had someone to walk with you through the entire process. What a gift of His grace. Thanks so much, Martha.

  2. I’ve definitely been on both sides of this, at least in a way. For sure I’ve neglected to follow through after a crisis with people who are likely still hurting and struggling. Sometimes I have followed through sometimes and often not at all. It’s especially difficult to remember to do so when I cannot relate to what the person is going through. On the other hand, when I’ve been on the other side of it, I try to make it seem as if I don’t need people to do this, as if I’m okay and not needing a follow-through. Sometimes I get this sense from others too. So, in that, I think we need to remember to fight through the resistance we might get when we try to follow through after a crisis. At least, that is what my experiences has shown me on both sides.

    • What a great and important point! We can push people away and then feel abandoned by them without even realizing what we’re doing. Others can do the same thing. I’m with you. I’ve definitely done that as well. Thanks for that great insight, Kari. We often need to lovingly push past our barriers in order to see people cared for and healed. Thanks again!

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