What To Do When Tragedy Strikes

June 16, 2014 — 12 Comments

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.

When Tragedy Strikes

When Tragedy Strikes

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Greg Faulls


12 responses to What To Do When Tragedy Strikes

  1. i think our church did wonderful on how they responded they did the same when we lost our little one corbin will be prayer for all concerned

    • I agree Anna. Corbin changed my life and how I love others in his short time with us. Think of him often as I also will John. Loved them both!

  2. It was indeed painful to realize we would not see our brother again this side of heaven and then see his family morn so deeply but it has cause me to stop and take stock in the relationships I still have and do all the more to treasure them while I can. I treasure the day I will get to see him again.

    He wrote this about himself at 70:
    I still enjoy what God has given me. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, riding my motorcycle, playing golf and supporting my church.

  3. Teresa Cooper June 16, 2014 at 7:32 am

    Thanks for Today’s Word! Thanks for being a friend and our Pastor (with a heart that grieves a long with us/church).

  4. This is so powerful……I’m sorry for your loss. I will pray for those touched by this devastating tragedy.

  5. Pamela A Gullim June 16, 2014 at 9:55 am

    praying for you Greg .. for your strength on Tuesday

    and of course for the Worth family as well

  6. When someone told me about the accident, I didn’t know who it was. So I looked up his picture and realized, “This is the man who helps us find our seats at church.”

    I didn’t even know his name, but he always, always made us feel like we mattered when we came in to the church. We don’t know a lot of people, but I always remember him just helping us find a place to sit. He never once made us feel bad for not being on time. He was just very available to help.

    We came in to the service yesterday during the music, and he wasn’t there. Crystal and I stood in the back for a couple of minutes because I really didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to go. We eventually found a spot, but I was thinking about him pretty much the whole time and how he would have been right there to help.

    I didn’t even know his name, but he had a positive impact on Crystal and me and we are very appreciative of that. We’re very sorry for the loss.

  7. Joanna Shockley June 16, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    It is perfectly o.k. to sit with a person. During that time, we listen, we pray, we love. You did a wonderful job yesterday & the tears you shed from the pulpit were heartbreaking & inspiring at the same time. We had prayed for you in our lifegroup class when we prayed for all the families who were involved. He will be missed.

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