Tragedy is something that we can’t escape here on earth.
Most often we are merely bystanders, hearts full of sympathy for those suffering. But there are times we are the sufferers. We are the ones wading through the murky waters of hardship and trial.
Our temptation is to allow tragedy to take our freedom . In other words, tragedy can usher in fear that keeps us from living a joyful life.
Certainly this is understandable for those directly affected by tragedy. And healing for those people will be slow.
But as people indirectly affected, as mere bystanders, we too can be paralyzed by tragedy. We too can lose the freedom that we lived in before.
OR, tragedy can be a catalyst to bring about positive change in our life, if we will let it.
Here are some things that tragedy can teach us…
- Tragedy reminds us that life here on earth is temporary. As a Christian, I believe that God has numbered our days. I realize everyone who reads this blog is not a Christian, but we all would agree that no one gets to live forever here. Tragedy reminds us of the brevity of life. It can help us focus on the things that are most important. It can help us realign our lives in areas we maybe have gone astray in the humdrum of the everyday. Maybe your family and friends need more of your love and attention. Maybe you have allowed an offense to come between you and someone you care about. Life is a gift and tragedy shows us that tomorrow is not a guarantee.
- Tragedy reminds us that there are hurting people in the world. Yes, far away where the tragedy occurred, but also right in our own backyard. There are lonely people who live on our street or in our apartment complex. There is someone in our town battling for their life or the life of a person they love. There is a single mom having trouble providing for her kids. And these people need our love and support. A kind word, a warm meal or yummy treat, a listening ear, our time as a volunteer caregiver or babysitter, our money–these things can all make a huge difference.
- Tragedy can help us to sort out our thoughts about life and death. About what we believe concerning an afterlife or eternity. As a Christian, I believe that God has placed eternity in our hearts, that death seems too soon, regardless. For example, Brance and I were sitting around the table with his 90-year-old grandmother last year. 90 seems like a long time to get to live. But chatting with her she told us out of the blue, “I have a lot of life in me and I don’t feel ready to go yet.” And to observe her, what she said rang loud and true–she had so much life in her. She died suddenly this past spring and even though she had a long and beautiful life, the end seemed too soon. Her words still come back to me. Although, we knew she did not fear death. Regardless of what you believe, tragedy does force us to think about life and death. And this can be a good thing.
- Tragedy can help us face our fears. The tragic two events that happened in Orlando has not only put a finger on our hearts, it has touched our minds as well–bringing fear to the surface for many in the process. When children can be fatally attacked under the watchful eye of a parent and public areas are possible targets for acts of terror, what are we to do? Who is safe? I strongly believe as we work through numbers 1, 2, and 3, we can begin to embrace life without fear. Seeing every single day as a gift and being thankful for it, getting our eyes off ourselves and onto others who are hurting, sorting out what we believe about this life and death and the next–will help us begin to live life without fear. All of that along with my belief that God directs my steps helps me not fear what could happen to me.
No reasonable person desires tragedy. As a Christian, I long for the day when tragedy will cease and all will be made right again. But until then, let’s be people who allow tragedy to become a catalyst for good–in our own lives and the lives of those around us.