There can be events in our lives that are so intense that we might compare them to a house fire. They are so immediate that they cannot be ignored. They are so all-encompassing that everything else takes a back seat.
What are some of them?
- A medical emergency.
- A financial crisis or eviction
- A death
- A credible threat of divorce
- A criminal arrest
- A home invasion or assault
- And a house fire, flood or other natural disaster that results in serious destruction of your property
All of these situations have the potential to change the course of your life, perhaps forever. And the inevitable result will be grief when the crisis has abated or passed.
But what can we do when a crisis hits?
Action. Regardless of your personality and response style (fight, flight or freeze) action is required. To ignore, over or under react is simply not an option. In these situations, time is not your friend, but your nemesis. My typical way of dealing with a crisis is to freeze. I want to pretend like it might just go away. It never does. Usually it just gets worse, sometimes much worse. Nan, on the other hand, is the opposite. She tends to take immediate action, but not always measured. That can also compound a problem.
Focus on the essentials. When the house is on fire it’s serious – really serious. There may be a tendency to focus on less important details. If your finances are collapsing, trying to reduce your credit card interest rate a few percent is not going to fix the problem. If you are in shock this might be a way of trying to cope with the overwhelming feelings. You will need an outside voice to guide you.
Accept what you cannot change. Look forward towards what you can do rather than backwards at what might have been done to prevent it. That needs to be saved for the grief process later on. Trying to save a home from certain foreclosure is not helpful. Looking for a place to move your family is.
Get support. There is a great need to have others around us during times of crisis. There are things we cannot change. We just have to go through them. But we do not have to go those earthquake events alone. It has frequently been said that there are no atheists in fox holes. At these times almost everyone prays regardless of their faith position. It is comforting to know that there is a greater power that can be called upon in times of trouble. We Christians know that power to be Jesus who is constantly bringing our name before the Father and interceding for us.