Friday, September 02, 2005

What to do...

The images from New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama have been devastating to watch; what must it be like to live through it.

As part of my own personal efforts at understanding, I looked up "dealing with trauma" on the Internet and came across some information that might prove helpful.
This information is from United Behavioral Health, and while it is not from a Christian perspective, I believe some of the steps outlined here are indeed helpful for us.

These tips are for people who are helping others:

· Listen carefully
· Acknowledge feelings as normal
· Be sensitive to individual circumstances and different points of view.
· Don't respond with "you're lucky it wasn't worse." Instead, say that you are sorry such an event has happened and you want to understand and to help.
· Don't take emotional responses like anger personally.
· Respect an individual's need for privacy. If someone doesn't want to talk about the incident or their feelings, don't insist.

At work:
· Organize support groups at work to help one another.
· Offer a "listening ear" to someone who hasn't asked for help but may need it.
· Give encouragement, support and understanding with on-the-job issues.
· Identify resources for additional help (Employee Assistance Programs, mental health benefit, human resources department).

Family and Friends:
· Offer help with everyday tasks like cleaning, cooking, caring for the family, etc.
· Respect their need for privacy and time alone.
· Suggest available help
· Keep communication open -- be available and accessible.
Again these are only recommendations. Professionals are much better suited at this than I am. But these are some steps we can take to help the "least of these."

Also, the importance of prayer -- and fasting -- cannot be overemphasized.

Isn't the fast I choose:
To break the chains of wickedness,
to untie the ropes of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free,
and to tear off every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
to bring the poor and homeless into your house,
to clothe the naked when you see him,
and to not ignore your own flesh and blood?

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