If you’re not prepared for a crisis today, chances are you won’t be tomorrow. How do you prepare for the suicide of a teen in your community? How do you get ready for your partner’s sudden termination or your spouse’s medical diagnosis?
These aren’t crises we can prepare for. They will find us, ready or not, and reveal this very moment who we are and what matters to us.
For organizations like churches that want to be helpful in times of crisis, the best preparation is a predetermined process for accompanying the afflicted. How do we stand with people in grief and walk with them through distress? If we have an answer for how we do that, I think we’re prepared.
I lived in an intentional community for about nine months that was situated along a neighborhood “peace line” in Belfast, Northern Ireland. For years, people had been dying of shootings and bombings in the neighborhoods on both sides of that line, and for years the people of that intentional community had a process of visiting, in pairs, every single family of every single victim. Often they were welcome, but often they were not. But that was their process, and nobody dare fault their preparation.
What most people are not prepared to do–but what we must prepared to do–is show up during a crisis and absorb its effects with the hardest hit. Prepare to do that by deciding your process ahead of time. Then do it.