About six weeks ago I wrote a post about How To Cope with Disappointment. In that post, I shared about our recent and sudden life change that had come our way, specifically for my husband. I can’t even begin to tell you about all the love and support we received after that post went live. I still, to this day, haven’t been able to personally respond to all of the heartfelt messages…not only those offering prayers and encouragement…but so many who were encouraged by the post.
The truth of the matter is that hard times happen to EVERYONE. None of us are free of them, though they look different for all of us. Some hardships come in the form of job loss, in death, in sickness, in infertility, in relationship conflicts, in financial woes, etc, etc.
Your life was going in one direction, under a certain set of circumstances and then in an instance, everything changes.
One thing that disappointment, devastation and tragedy have in common though is that most happen in a split second. In a single moment, our lives can change. And those moments are almost always blindsides…you didn’t see them coming. Whether its entering into a meeting that you didn’t expect or sitting in a doctors office, receiving bad news. Or maybe it’s a phone call from the police in the middle of the night that there’s been a terrible accident. Maybe it’s an investment that goes belly up. Maybe it’s a confession from a spouse about their infidelity.
Whatever the hardship is, it’s usually something that you weren’t expecting and therefore it’s something that you weren’t prepared for. Your life was going in one direction, under a certain set of circumstances and then in an instance, everything changes.
Usually, people are there when tragedy first strikes. The phone calls, the text messages, the heartfelt response to your cry for help. It’s easy to see the immediate need after devastation and step to the need in some way, shape or form.
Think back to the Fort McMurray forest fires that began this past May 2016. To this day, the fires are still NOT fully extinguished. While they are considered under control, they are still burning in northern parts of Alberta. But when was the last time you heard about them? Even trying to find an up-to-date report online was difficult for me. The latest news article was from three weeks ago.
The Alberta forest fires were the single most costly disaster in Canadian history and received over 125 MILLION dollars in donations via the Red Cross.
But what’s happening there now? Are the people all back home yet? What about those who lost their homes…what’s happening with the rebuilding efforts?
One of the biggest disasters that not only sent our nation into action but also the world (remember the South African fire fighters that came?) and not even three months pass and we don’t hear a word about it anymore. It doesn’t concern us anymore. It’s not on our radar.
But you better believe it still affects the people of Fort McMurray and Alberta still. While they are returning home, picking up the pieces of their lives and rebuilding a community that they love dearly, we’ve moved on and all but forgotten.
That’s often how tragedy and life-altering disappointment works: it’s shocking to everyone at first, people try to help in the immediate aftermath and then within weeks, people move on and forget.
I won’t lie, there have been moments of loneliness in this period of our lives. Moments where we wondered who was there for us and more importantly, where we belonged (more on that subject next week). It’s so hard when your life is going one direction and you are part of a specific community and then in an instant, you are no longer a part of that community.
Where do you go? What do you do? Who do you turn to?
Well first, as Christians, we turn to God. At the end of the day, we believe that it doesn’t matter what happens in life, there is no peace and comfort like that which comes from Him. To be totally honest, we would be in a far worse place right now if it weren’t for God. Anger, bitterness, confusion, etc is what we would be dealing with. Instead, there is comfort and peace. There is love and most importantly, there is hope for a really bright future!
If you know me, you know just how much I value my friends. They are a lifeline for me. When I need my batteries recharged, give me a few friends, some yummy food and a night filled with chats and laughter and I’m set!
But at a time like this, you start to feel slightly vulnerable and unsure of who will stick around and who will split. I think it’s natural that you end up pulling back and see who pulls closer to you.
Just this last week, I was starting to really feel the loneliness set in. It’s summer time, people are busy…we are busy. We’ve decided to take advantage of Chris having a whole summer off and really enjoy some day trips and time away with family.
But after four weeks of that, my heart started to yearn for my friends. And I truly believe that God knows those unspoken needs and speaks to people to step in when you need it most.
This last weekend, we had two days of hanging out with dear friends, for extended periods of time and I can’t even begin to tell you how much it did our hearts GOOD! Spending the day on the beach with friends, hanging out for an impromptu McDonald’s lunch after church and then tossing a roast in the oven and having friends come for a last minute dinner…each and every one of those friends was a reminder to us that we are NOT alone in this journey. That we are NOT forgotten. That we are loved and cherished and seen and valued.
One of those friends who came for dinner brought me yellow roses and greeted me with a huge hug and tears in her eyes, which made me tear up because I knew…we were seen and we were loved. And in an instant, the loneliness from the week before disappeared.
God’s beautiful reminder that we are not forgotten.
So I encourage you…think of some of your friends who might be walking through a tough time. Have you checked in on them in awhile? Have you called them up and said, “Bring the family for an impromptu dinner at our house tonight.”?
People need people. Especially during the hard times. Especially once the dust settles and most people have moved on. Be someone’s person. Remind your friends that they are loved and seen and not forgotten today!
Love & Blessings,
Note: I found the Scripture print online and can’t seem to find out where it originated from to give proper credit. If you know, let me know!