At 24, I am not an expert on how to deal with life’s crises.
I can do break-ups, death of family members, dealing with family members with long-term illness/memory loss, unruly teenagers, fussy babies, hyperactive toddlers and kids, an array of learning and/or behavioral disorders, and how to communicate openly…
but unfortunately, those are all how to deal with those on my terms.
Generally, grief and traumatic experiences are the farthest from “one size fits all.” This is the area in which I’d like to grow. There are so many biblical examples of how to humbly love and support those who are grieving or are struggling with personal issues (Abraham, Ruth, David, Hosea). What most of them have in common is a commitment to the Lord and the peace that marks a believer’s walk with God.
Yes, they still had meltdowns, but what matters most is that they continually looked to the Lord and skipped panicking; there was peace and trust.
I always think of Romans 12 as a decent guideline for loving others, and the part that sticks out to me for this question of how to love and support others dealing with grief and trauma (and matches in context) is this:
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
I cannot find the article at the moment, but I read an enlightening piece about keeping one’s perspective in situations of grief and trauma that do not directly involve you (thing concentric circles of concern). Basically, the idea is that if you are not at the center of the circle… IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!
It means realizing that if your friend is diagnosed with cancer, your role as a friend is not to be overwhelmed, but to be strong for them. If you know someone who just had a difficult labor and delivery who declines your request to visit at the hospital… it’s not personal, it is what is best for them and your concern should be for them. If your friend is getting married and asks you to be in the wedding party and wear certain attire or learn a new dance, you should do it because IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU!
In the face of a difficult season for some people close to me, I need to have compassion and take care to be selfless and loving. Really, I should be working on this every day, but especially when others just need me to be in one piece so they don’t feel responsible for causing other catastrophes in the midst of their own emotional tumult.
Well, thanks for the nice chat, internet. It’s 2 a.m. so I should get to sleep 🙂