It seems more and more of my friends and loved ones are experiencing sorrow, losses and life-threatening or devastating news. For some, it seems as though the heavens have opened up and a truck load of problems and tragedies have been dumped on them – much like the tsunami that tore through the coastal town of Japan a couple of years ago or the tornadoes that have recently ripped through the Midwest.
In a blink of an eye their lives were changed forever.
When our world has been washed out to sea or reduced to kindling, our brain struggles to comprehend what has happened.
Pictures of devastating storms can seem surreal. But in our everyday lives, we will receive news that can seem just as life-smashing: our marriage has ended, we lost our job, our child has committed suicide, I have cancer.
Even when we have a faith in God, our brain struggles to process the magnitude of such circumstances. In shock we try to pick up the pieces and put our life back together again and we realize just how fragile life can be and how much of we take for granted.
But even in the worst of tragedies and disasters, God is waiting to help us. In my book, “Making Stress Work for You”, (available on my website), I wrote about all the times when the whirlwinds of life left me in a state of shock or panic. But God was there offering us hope, strength and assurance.
We will be faced with unspeakable disasters and losses. When that happens, life can still hold meaning and purpose.
A few years ago I was having coffee in a local coffee shop. I started a conversation with a lady who was busy knitting. She was making comfort shawls for Hospice. What was so amazing was that she had Parkinson’s, could not hold a regular job, and was supporting an elderly mother who also had Parkinson’s who she cared for in her home. I was humbled as I marveled at her tenacity and acceptance of her life’s “tsunami”. She did not let it stop her. Instead she used her time to reach out and help others.
They are a witness to what we can do even when struck with tragedies. They not only endure but use their misfortune as stepping stones to become stronger and more resilient.
Devastating storms will forever change our lives. However, we have a choice as to how we let those changes affect us.
We can take deep breaths, reach out and take God’s calming hand and march forward with His strength or we can remain frozen in our panic and despair.
We can challenge negative thinking, develop can-do attitudes and then put a smile on our face, roll up our sleeves and go to work.