After a tragedy or crisis, the need is to be alone, but this is not good. What a person just after a tragedy said was, “People keep asking me to socialise with them, but I don’t want to be around anyone—I don’t want to try to have fun or make conversation. Why can’t people understand that in my grief? I just want to be left alone.”
People do understand your wish for isolation, and that is precisely why they are concerned about you being alone too much. Becoming self-absorbed, losing interest in socialising, and desiring to isolate yourself from others are common after a tragedy/crisis. However, there is also potential danger of becoming a recluse to the point that you become stuck in your grief and fail to reach out to others in an effort to stay connected to life apart from sorrow. One of the most effective ways to help your own healing is to reach out to others who are grieving.
Galatians 6:2 “By helping each other with your troubles, you obey the Law of Christ. (NCV) In this verse the reference is to helping another Christian, sharing the person’s load, whenever temptations oppress or life depresses. Here Paul returns quite deliberately to the thought of love being the fulfillment of the law, for the “law of Christ” is the new commandment (John 13:34) to love each other. This is the fulfillment in part at least by such actions.
It is a big mistake to isolate yourselves from others when you are going through a crisis. Now usually that is what we want to do, we want to get all by ourselves; we think nobody understands our problem. But you need other people in a tragedy. You need their perspective, you need their support, you need their encouragement, and you just need their presence.
God wants us to help each other… “Look after each other so that not one of you will fail to find God’s best blessings.” Hebrews 12:15. To make it through a crisis, we need not only the promises of God we need the people of God.
This is one of many reasons why it is so important to be part of a small group in church. To attend church services is very good, but we also have to have these connections with people closer to us. Because when a crisis comes, those will be the people who will be standing with you. If you don’t have those relationships in place, whose going to hold you up?
In a previous congregation there was a couple who attended church services for five years. When the man became very ill and was in hospital. They called and asked somebody from church to visit. They knew nobody in church really closely. Nobody really knew about their crisis, because they were always very private, come to church and leave after the service. They never established any relationships. We need closer relations, which you can find in a small group.
The Bible is clear, we need to receive from each other when we go through tragedy or crisis. We need to encourage each other.
When you identify somebody going through a tragedy or crisis:
- Be available as someone who can understand how they feel.
- Send a card, prepare a meal, bring a flower, run an errand.
- Make periodic phone calls to say, “I care.”
Remember that isolating from others only curtails your own healing. Instead, reaching out will help bring healing to others and, in turn, to yourself.
“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)