We have no other words except heart-broken. We are so burdened for our Japanese friends in their suffering right now! We cannot walk in their shoes for them, but what can we do? We can surely pray, but we still want to reach out in other ways when we can. What exactly can we do when bad things happen?
Don’t say you understand. Even when we’ve had similar problems, it is not fair to say we understand. Each person’s pain and grief is different. Their shoes, like these, are not ready to walk a long distance. Our job is to listen and to help them put one foot in front of the other. We don’t need to train them for a marathon during the grieving process.
Do travel to be with those who need help if possible. With the earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan, we want to help but feel so helpless. When the tsunami hit Thailand more than six years ago, our pastor and staff drove immediately to the site. They did not yet have a plan of how to help, but they wanted to be there to see what needed to be done. The first need was to build large coffins. A photo of our sweet pastor nailing together a coffin is imprinted in my mind.
Do send a message or call to show your support. Don’t assume that there will be so many people around helping that your call is not meaningful. It is important to communicate your connection to the person in pain, even if it is by message or by phone. Something is much better than nothing. The moment passes quickly. We cannot go back and fix our intentions that never happened.
Do let those who’ve been hurt talk through the pain when they feel ready. Recently a family lost a husband and father. We felt so helpless in the situation, but letting the family talk about memories of their father and husband was the best medicine. We could not fix the problem, but we could listen.
“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” Daphne Rae