I’ve lost everything in a fire!
My friend’s words jolted me when I received her call several years ago. Can you imagine having everything you own destroyed but your pink bathrobe and matching furry slippers? Grateful to be unharmed and alive, she realized most of her tangible possessions could be replaced. The recent Yarnell fire, which claimed the lives of 19 firefighters and left many other families homeless, reminded me that life is a gift we should not take for granted and we each can do our part to comfort and restore hope to someone who is hurting after any kind of loss.
Recognizing the needs of others who are experiencing loss and responding to them is personal and may vary with each person and circumstance. I’ve realized this through my own experience of losing a child and other life losses. Every loss is unique and can’t be compared. So is the process and methods of restoring hope to someone coping with loss.
In my friend’s case, a group of us recognized and responded to her immediate needs: providing food, clothing and temporary housing. She also needed practical help like filing insurance claims, and finding long term housing. Because she was single and didn’t have family living nearby, we provided our presence, emotional support and prayers. We became the hands and feet of Jesus to her in her journey to find hope after loss.
One creative way we encouraged her was by hosting a “Starting Over Shower” for her. (You can read this Recipe of Hope for the Loss of a Home in my book Hopelifter: Creative Ways to Spread Hope When Life Hurts)
We showered our friend with a party and gifts of basic items she needed to restore her kitchen, (spices, dishes, pots and pans) her bathroom, (towels, cleaning supplies) and her personal care. (make-up, shampoo and perfume). One friend even provided a new Bible.
Recently I heard about a similar effort of friends rallying support on Facebook for household items for a family who lost their home in the Yarnell fire.
What part could you play to restore hope to someone after their loss? One simple act or item you offer could make a big difference to someone in need. Ask God to show you, listen and respond.
How have you restored hope to someone coping with loss? How has someone restored your hope through a loss you’ve experienced?
I’d love to hear your ideas.