Choices in Crises: Causes vs. Caring
When a crises occurs within a community or an individual’s life, people react in various ways. Some respond to the situation at hand with understandable confusion to the overwhelming problems. They may react with a foreboding vulnerability while searching for what to do.
One debilitating danger is to put the wall of supposed objectivity, which may really be only one’s opinions, between the problem and the person reacting. This overconfidence on the part of the listener can sour the situation for the aggrieved.
For example, a grieving person may say, “The medical costs are unbelievable!” to which a listener may climb on a soapbox and complain about “the system” and expostulate on and on. The suffering party may not be inspired or helped by this, and may even be harmed.
Far better it would be to give a hug, a snack, and be available for compassionate listening as needed.
The desire to “fix it” can get in the way of actually being helpful. This urge to provide immediate answers and close the deal on the problem can indicate a chasm of uncaring misunderstanding.
Just being there and listening with a caring nature is what people often need. Spending some reflective time with a kindly listener can provide a cool lagoon where the problems can take a rest, allowing processing time. After this bit of rest for the soul, a person can return to their problems with hope and new ideas for solutions.
P.S. A perfect example is the little boy who heard his neighbor had lost his wife. He rushed over there and was gone quite a while. When he returned his mom asked what had he been doing and he replied, “I was just helping him cry.” (You see, this smart kid just sat on the old man’s lap and cried along with him.)
Copyright by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission of author for use online or in print.