Just two days ago a dear friend of mine was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident. This man was a friend to many in our church. We were all shocked when we heard of the accident.
In the hours after the crash I witnessed so many people doing the right things at the right time. When painful things like this happen, it is often the occasion for people to come together and show love in deeply profound and yet very simple ways.
Here are some of the things I did and saw others do and I believe they were the right things to do.
- Went to the tragedy. Several of the closest friends and family traveled to be with the family all the way in another state where the accident occurred. There we grieved with the family. We hugged, we cried, we talked, but also sat in silence. We just believed that the family needed to know they were not alone.
- Sat with each other. There was another friend of ours that had not been killed, but was injured in the accident. He had been transported to another city for medical care. A couple of us also traveled to that city as well to see the man who had been hurt. When we arrived, the waiting room was filled with over a dozen members of our church. They were just sitting with the family. It sounds silly just to sit. Think about it. You are not doing much when you sit. But somehow it is powerful. Everyone in that room was grieving and shaken. Most of them had not been in the accident, but the people they cared about had been. Sitting together meant no one was alone. That is powerful and good.
- Came to the house. When the spouse of my friend came home without her husband, friends and loved ones were waiting for her. They had brought food and simply stayed for awhile. They shared their love to this widow, but it was more than that. They were not just giving support, they were seeking it. They too were hurting and sought the comfort of togetherness. That is the purest kind of support, for it is mutual.
- Spread the word. Literally hundreds of people knew of the tragedy by the end of the day. People called people, texted, and posted. Prayers were offered and the burden was shared. The accident happened on a Saturday. By Sunday most knew about it. When we came to church we hugged and loved on each other. We needed the support.
- Felt our feelings. When we saw each other we let ourselves cry. In this situation I was a friend, but I was also the Pastor. Usually a Pastor will try to be professional in such situations. I found that difficult this time. This man was a personal friend. We had become close over the years. When I saw the man’s wife, I held her and wept. When I saw the man’s son, I hugged him and cried. And I was not the only one, many of us did this. What else could we do? We were feeling the hurt. It was right to share the pain with one another. Somehow it helped us not feel alone.
These are just a few things I watched us do that helped us travel through the pain together. They are simple, natural, but profound and powerful.
Question: What are other things you would suggest people do in the midst of a tragedy? You can leave a comment by clicking here.