To friends who are hurting: If I could write each of you a letter, I would, but the numbers are beyond me, so it’s best I leave this list here, where some will find it and some will share it.
WHEN WILL I STOP thinking about this? you wonder. I have a few thoughts to offer, totally from my own experience. Nothing here is a magic wand, but taken together, over time, they help.
- God has given you a task to take care of today. What is it? Do it. Let it be enough for today. Stop making long to-do lists of things that must be done in the next 24 hours. You are not operating in the same time zone as before everything happened. It’s okay.
- Allow some people in. Find your mat carriers, those who will pray for you when you don’t have it in you to pray for yourself.
- Carve out a free zone, a time when you’re not talking/texting/emailing about it. Pick a day of the week. For us, it was Mondays. Our goal: No talking about it on Mondays, unless there’s something urgent that requires a discussion and decision. It’s not denial. You need the breather. Your friends and family need it, too. Don’t worry about missing something. It’ll all be there waiting for you bright and early the next day.
- Speak less.
- Listen more.
- Don’t be forced by social media to blurt out every thought you have. Before posting, stop and think. Do I really need to broadcast this or is this something I should express somewhere else, maybe one-on-one to a friend?
- Respect the grief of others. Allow them space to say what they need to say, knowing it may all be different tomorrow. Don’t keep a list of sound bites you want to throw back in people’s faces. (Never a good idea.)
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One of the best greetings during tough times: Instead of “How are you?” a better question is “How is today?”
If I could find my journal, it would be a more comprehensive list.
Please add any tips you’d like to offer in the comments section.
Only positive, helpful ones, please.