Getting Back to "Normal" After Tragedy Strikes

Here in NJ, our world has been turned upside down by several tragic events.  In the Gulf area, residents are feeling the same way only due to the oil spill and its countless side effects.  It's very normal to be shaken up, disoriented and even depressed.  The key is to press through that stage into some form of normal.

This journey, however is not an easy one.  It is deeply spiritual as it will test the very depths of a person's character and will invite them to call on God for help.  Here are some suggestions for getting back to normal:

  1. Surround yourself with support. By phone, in person or online, seek those who will love you and support you in your grief.  Even if your grief feels small, it's important to talk it through with someone who has "been there and done that".  Facebook, with all of its shortcomings, is very effective for this as a Fan Page or Group can spring up in hours with literally thousands of supporters.

  2. Maintain good eating, sleeping and grooming habits. Rather than turn to alcohol or other stimulants, maintaining good eating habits and getting enough sleep are both critical to this process.  Give yourself permission to rest, taking care of yourself and keeping your living space in good working condition.

  3. Go to places of order. Psychologists tell us that supermarkets and department stores are effective places for those seeking order.  Have you ever noticed that you don't even think when you go to the market?  That's because you know where everything is and in a time of tragedy, these places are of value.  Whether you need some items or not, markets are helpful places in times of tragedy.

  4. Allow yourself to "resume" life. Many times we don't want to resume normalcy during or after a time of tragedy.  We feel as if we should still be sad or be in desperation.  Give yourself permission to get back to work, do the things you did before tragedy struck and resume normalcy.

  5. Prepare for the unexpected. Know that a moment will come, when you don't expect it, that will shake you up and remind you of tragedy and loss.  This is where prayer comes in so that you can anticipate painful reminders of loss that will occur in the future.  Colossians 1:24 says, "Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church."

Jesus knows what tragedy is all about and is at the side of all suffering throughout the world.  Calling on Him in prayer is key when you are trying to resume normalcy so that life can go on.

*photo by skpy