I was recently reading an article called, Recovery Road in the Westways Magazine published through AAA (October 2019). Author Rachel Ng explains how quickly emergency response crews will get the roads up and running if we were to have a catastrophic earthquake that damage our roads and freeways.
I believe in emergency response preparedness. We should always have a plan of action in place as to what we should do in an emergency. There are policy requirements for building codes that explain necessary sign postings for emergency exits. You get on an airplane and they explain emergency procedures and what to do in a water landing. As an employer, educator, or parent, we now have to explain what to do in an "active shooter" situation. We are becoming a society of constant preparedness. But we are never prepared emotionally for the uncertainty of daily living.
How can a child prepare for the decisions of their parents to blow up their marriage?
How can a wife prepare for the discovery of her husband's affair?
How can a father be prepared for the loss of his job?
How can a military veteran be prepared for what follows retirement from the service?
How can a widow be prepared for the death of their spouse?
How can a student be prepared for the shame of being bullied?
How can a parent prepare for their child's addiction?
We can not be prepared for every situation. To try causes anxiety and fear and results in depression because we are doomed to fail. We will never be able to have the answers to all the unknown situations and unanswered questions. Things happen without fore warning all the time and we are left with invisible wounds that cut us to our core. We can not be prepared for such uncertainties, so we must have a plan of action that follows the emotional earthquakes in our lives. Here is one plan I recommend:
1. Be open to asking for help. Too often we suffer silently. We emotionally shut down, isolate, and ruminate on the grief of the circumstance. This isolation brings on shame and guilt that adds to the consequences and can complicate or delay the healing process. The sooner you seek outside help, the quicker the healing can take place. I tell my clients, "You don't have the answers within yourself. If you did, you'd have solved the problem by now."
2. Get help for others. Often parents suffer in isolation and their children are left alone as well. The parent dives into their bedsheets, and the children feel lost and abandoned. Get help for yourself, but also for your hurting children. Even if you can't see their pain (kids are good at hiding it), seek professional help as soon as possible. They are resilient, but they are tender hearted and vulnerable.
3. Don't give up hope. There are seasons of change and everything changes. If you look at each situation as being compared with the seasons: Spring (growth), Summer (gathering), Fall (preparation), and Winter (rest), you can see how things happen over time. Consider the seasons of life: We are born in the "Spring" where we grow and learn new things. Then we become young adults where we begin our Summer of gathering life experiences like jobs, marriage, and families. In the Fall we begin preparing for the latter years of life by building a retirement fund and sending the children off to college. In the Winter season we rest through retirement and enjoy the "fruits of our labor." Every year has its seasons as well and there will be storms of discontent as well as moments of clarity and refreshment, but you have to look for the good and accept the bad that comes with it. We can't pretend to live in the Spring time all year (denial), but we shouldn't think all life is a Wintery white blanket of snow either. The Byrds said it best when they put scripture to music in, "Turn, turn, turn."
A Time for Everything
3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3: 3-8 (NIV)