My youngest son recently received a letter in the mail celebrating Trauma Survivor Day. All the emotions of that infamous day came flooding back. The promise of a fun camping trip, the discovery of a huge climbing tree, the surrealness of the fall- then a miraculous recovery. This particular boy of mine had climbed up a tree which was, unbeknownst to us, mostly dead with very brittle branches. After scaling to unbelievable heights, (I’m pretty sure he is part squirrel) he began the descent down, baring his weight on one of those weak remnants of a branch and fell 16 feet to the ground.
While the fall was certainly enough to kill a person, the tree also possessed an array of jagged, broken branches, some pointing out in in-numerous directions, others protruding straight up toward the sky, which, though my mind doesn’t linger on the thought, would’ve empaled him had he fallen any other direction than the way he did. It was sobering and awe-striking at the same time. I, maybe like other parents, normally would’ve been freaking out under these circumstances. More times than not, crisis situations don’t announce themselves ahead of time, but rather pounce like a barn cat on an unsuspecting mouse. And then there we are, thrust into a dilemma, completely unprepared.
I can’t help but think about all of us in our chaotic world today, going through the trauma of the time. That’s what is is, by definition: trauma: a deeply distressing or disturbing event. I think about what got us through that day at the camp site, and how it is the only answer to what will get us through this day, and the next and the next. It’s a full dependence on Jesus, on His love for me, which has developed into a trust so essential to my survival, I know I can’t make it without it. And believing in this love, over everything else pulling at my fears, at my worries, at my insecurities, trust in this love is a decision I have to make every time I am faced with conflict in my life or in the world. This is the only kind of love that has the power to steer my reactions in the right direction, no matter what the road looks like around or ahead.
I parallel our lives as a country now in the face of this pandemic… and I believe we need to put our trust in Him and pray for an abundance of love. Because it’s God’s perfect love that is going to get us through this. As we enter into the slow descent from the apex of this trauma, and try to navigate our way back into whatever “normal” is, the branches of fear loom on one side, while the branches of worry and anxiety on another. Our personal judgements stand ready to empale us, with hatred and division as the ground that could do us all in. But love guides us- EVEN AS WE FALL! If we keep our self in tune with His love, we can avoid those gnarly branches set on our maiming and destruction.
May 20 is Trauma Survivor Day. But what I pray for all of us is more than merely surviving a day or a trauma, but thriving IN IT because we don’t rely on ourselves and our kind of love but on the love that only a savior could give. His is the kind of love that ceases worry, calms fear and strengthens us when we face the unknown. Put your trust in the love that is infinite, that is unconditional, that stands ready-always prepared for life’s curve balls. Because it’s this kind of love that will bring us out better versions of ourselves, if we choose to partner with Him every. time. Let’s wake up each day and proclaim it as THRIVER’S Day.
We can do this. With Jesus, anything is possible.
1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.