Sometimes I feel like that is all I talk about; like the fire finds a way to weave itself into every conversation and post. But the fact of the matter is, it was a big, hairy deal and it changed the course of my life forever.
Being the victim of a big, life-changing event is an interesting process. At first, everyone was asking how they could help. I didn’t know! I was in shock! The dust hadn’t settled.
But once the excitement died down and reality set in, we were stuck in a small hotel room, with nothing more than the few things we salvaged from the apartment. A restoration company was hired to sift through our things and see what could be saved, and a textile company was hired to see if they could remove the smoke and water damage from our clothes. People were offering us their old clothes and furniture, but we didn’t know if ours would make it out or not! We were in a holding pattern while interest and concern waned.
Days turned into weeks, and we suddenly realized that it isn’t easy to feed a family on a normal budget in a hotel room. Total strangers stepped up with gift cards, while many of our closest friends just shook their head and said, “That’s too bad.”
Six months later we have been battered by life, and are slowly trying to put the pieces back together. We are financially devastated, and our marriage barely held together through the stress. It has been a long row to hoe, and the next person who chooses to remind me that God has a plan, may meet the back of my hand. Of course he has a plan, and it is so much better than what I could have imagined, but that isn’t really helpful from someone who has no idea what I am going through.
It can be hard to know how to help after a crisis. How can you help your friend? How can you be a blessing to them?
Do something. Anything!
It’s not easy to accept help, and it is even harder to ask for it. Whether the crisis is fire, illness, job loss, or whatever I promise you that your friends need help in some form, whether they ask for it or not. Buy gift cards for their dinner, send them a note in the mail to let them know you are praying for them, invite them over to your house for dinner. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture!
One of my friends recently went through a health crisis. It was the same week my husband lost his job, so money was definitely tight, but I shifted a few things around and was able to get them a gift card for dinner, then make several meals to keep the family fed while my friend was in the hospital. Did I spend hundreds of dollars? No. As a matter of fact, some canned chicken may have made an appearance. But, it took a huge burden off the family when food was the last thing they needed to worry about.
If you tell someone you are going to help them clean their house after they break their leg, follow through and do it! Nothing is worse than people promising to help you, breathing a sigh of relief, and then realizing that they aren’t really going to help you and you are back at square one.
I think the biggest thing you can do for someone in a crisis is okay, and I don’t mean a quick Dear God help so and so, I mean really pray. When we were in the thick of things after the fire there was a group of bloggers who were seriously praying for my family. I could almost literally feel their prayers, and could definitely see their affect in our lives. I know without a doubt I wouldn’t have made it through that situation with my sanity in tact (is it in tact? Maybe I am overstating that one lol) without the faithful prayers of those ladies.
I think the moral of the story is, just be a friend. Be present and generous when you see your friends going through something. Even if it’s not as big of a crisis as a fire, or cancer, it’s really not that hard to be compassionate. Send a card, cook a meal, or just sit down and pray with someone! Just do something.