1. Last Friday, on a normal summer day, a quick storm formed at our home in North Carolina. Literally in minutes strong winds had blown through our neighborhood, toppling some trees, ripping off limbs and overturning outdoor furniture. Mild obviously in comparison to tornadoes or hurricanes, this was a stark reminder of how quickly life can turn upside down. Our outdoor patio table was shattered, along with the umbrella.
2. Over the weekend Jordyn Wieber, a favorite to win the all-around gymnast at the 2012 Olympics was narrowly eliminated from even having the opportunity to be in the competition. Her dreams and aspirations up to that moment in time were shattered. She has had great accomplishments, will have more of course, and yet, the stark reality of not being able to realize her goal was emotionally devastating.
Reflecting on these unconnected events, my heart went out to millions of people whose dreams have been shattered, whose possessions have been shattered or whose lives have taken horrific losses in loved ones’ deaths or relational losses. Here are a few musings about all of that.
1. Recognize the shattered situation for all that it is. Do your best to not make more or less of it than the shattering really is. It can be big for sure, though, and don’t deny that for yourself or others.
2. Grieve or mourn appropriately. Allow yourself to have the emotions. It’s healthy and necessary to process our feelings. Get comfort from those who can comfort you. Respond appropriately to the situation as you move forward.
3. Get in context for the whole of your life what has just happened. It’s terrible to be shattered. It’s possible to regroup. It’s possible there are better things. It’s realistic that sometimes the shattered things or situations will never be fixed. Remember the good things more than the shattering.
4. Clean up the mess. I had to clean up that messy glass on the deck. Now a slightly newer, though used, table is in its place. Yet, cleaning up the mess was no fun. It was work. I had to do it. Sometimes we need help, like my family helping me with the table. Ms. Wieber has put in her work as she moves forward in the Olympics; work overcoming disappointment, and work towards the team’s next steps.
5. Realize that as we live, these things happen; shattering of hopes or dreams or situations or things. We’re not alone in being shattered. Reach out to others with hope and help.
6. Focus on the next thing. After devastation is the new reality, the new thing in front of us. Make that the best it can be.
7. Focus on the main thing. Our eternal destiny is much more than this temporal joy or pain we experience. For eternity we can be able to sing the praises day and night of a God who is Mercy and whose mercies are new every morning and all the time. 1 Chronicles 9:33
How have you overcome shattering events or circumstances in your life? How have you helped others overcome?