August 13, 2008

Survivor Sighting

Job loss. Divorce. Death of a parent, sibling, or child. Bankruptcy. Foreclosure. Serious illness. Tragic accident. Betrayal by a trusted friend. Business failure. Fire or flood.

Each of these are "before and after" events. These events force us to evolve into a different person. These events strip a sense of safety and security away from us. These events are painful, gut-wrenching, and they re-order our world. I call them LAEs (life altering events) because no matter how we choose to respond, we are permanently changed by these events. Regardless of who is responsible, we are forced into a new space by these events.

Jerry White's I Will Not Be Broken is an easy to read, insightful guidebook for finding the way to wholeness after a tragic loss. In my own experience, the biggest challenge after experiencing a loss is making the firm decision to grow out of the loss and not to sink underneath the weight of it.

One of White's guidelines for growing out of a loss is reaching out to others. When you do this, you will find survivors all around you, in various stages of recovery. Why does this matter? You'll learn you are not alone and you will learn from others how to build your own unique path out of overwhelming pain back to life and hope and possibility.

Who lives an entire lifetime untouched by severe loss or tragedy? No one. Who emerges stronger and more confident after surviving a loss? Those who determine to find a way, or make one. Those who reach out. Those who kick shame or hesitation to the curb. Those who will not only extend a hand of help, but will also accept and embrace help as it is offered. There are millions of us. We are everywhere. Join us.

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