Many people in my hometown of Orlando, Florida are feeling the effects of trauma right now. Some of them are victims or relatives of victims of the two shootings which occurred here in recent days. Others are first responders, police, fire or ambulance personnel who witnessed the carnage or its aftereffects. But others are experiencing symptoms of trauma at more of a distance – those called upon to counsel victims or first responders, relatives and friends of those involved, maybe even the community as a whole. We are struggling to wrap our brains around the idea that such massive evil and bloodshed could occur in our midst. We are shocked, frightened, grieving, trying to “fix it” or to escape.
Of course there have also been some lovely examples of heroes and helpers giving blood, offering prayers, providing food and comfort. This reminds us of our role as God’s children, entering the scene of tragedy as Jesus did to bring the hope of redemption. We cannot not lose sight of God’s goodness, but, at the same time, we should not use that truth to dismiss others’ pain, jumping too quickly to a hope that many cannot yet feel.
Part of the healing that needs to be done is to allow ourselves and others to talk, to grieve, to feel our own feelings, whatever they may be. Be kind to yourself and others right now. We won’t always feel this way, but part of moving forward is living in the present, acknowledging whatever may be, telling the stories and validating the pain. To that end, I offer the following handout which you can download, print or copy for others.
May you struggle well and heal in God’s time.