When bad things happen…
When bad things happen, at first it is simply hard.
Don’t tell someone at that point that there is a reason for everything, or that God wanted their loved one with him (horrid!), just say I’m sorry, and keep coming around, and keep listening.
There is a fine explanation of what we should do when something happens to someone else. Imagine that person in the center of a set of circles. The closest circle are the people closest to that person, a spouse, some family members, their best friend. The next circle will be close friends. Each further circle out is less close. Here is the secret to the correct way to respond when there has been tragedy. Support in, dump out. What that means is that the ONLY correct response toward the center is support. If there are things that are making you uncomfortable about this situation, or even things that are simply getting in your way of being a good friend, you do not deal with those thing with people who are towards the center, or even, God forbid, the person in trouble.
How does this work? My friend’s husband did not wake up the Wednesday before Easter. He was happier and healthier than he had been in years, with no external indicators that something was very wrong. She called me for support. There were many things I thought to say, but I remembered the circles, and, support in, dump out. Because of that, I listened and did not say much.
There was much on my heart because of her situation, but it was not appropriate to ask her to deal with it – that would have been dumping. I talked to other people to deal with my feelings, people who did not even know her.
As time has progressed, she has actually said some of the things I thought but did not say. She realized that he was not as healthy as he looked. Later she could say that she knew he would not have chosen to stay around if he had gotten very ill. After that she could say that on an unconscious level, he probably knew he was getting ready to get very ill. Once she had said these things, I could agree with her, but I had to wait for her to get there first.
Bad things happen to people we know. Support in, dump out. And before you ask, “is there anything I can do to help,” think about what might be helpful and offer something specific. That’s support.
Last month the BC decided that our Festival beneficiary would be something in the Diocese of Tohoku. One of my tasks after that meeting was to contact the bishop and figure out what might be appropriate for us to support. What I found is the Koriyama Project. This Project is organized through Sts. Peter & Paul Church to offer support for victims of the radiation. One of their programs is the Refresh Program.
Imagine telling your preschool child that they were not allowed to go outside to play, for a year! Here is the situation: Many people have moved away from Sendai and the surrounding area, but some families cannot move. So there are still children in the area. It is too dangerous for the children still living in the diocese to go outside to play. This is especially true for preschoolers, who are apt to fall down in the contaminated dirt, and to put things in their mouths. So for the summer vacation time, the Refresh Program of the Koriyama Project takes these children and their parents away to a big house on a beautiful island that is not contaminated, where the children can play outside. One mother said: It is so wonderful to not have to say “no, you can’t do that” all the time.
This is a fabulous project for us to support. Our money will help the Project bring more families and give these children and parents some very needed time-out from their stress-filled lives. Please think about how we can get the word out about it.
SOKO BUKAI in JULY
In the Sundays in July, we will join with Pine UMC at CUPC after our church service to have a joint adult education program. There will be a combined presentation, then breakout sessions in English and Japanese. Stina will be leading two of the sessions, Pastor Grace will lead the other two. Hiroko will lead the Japanese session. We will each have our own church services, then carpool over to the Presbyterians for coffee hour and the education time.
June 14-18 Japanese Convocation in NYC
June 26-29 Wild Goose Festival in NC
July Sundays, Adult Education at CUPC
August 24 Asian Music Festival at Grace Cathedral
To Gordon, Carl, and all of the men (and a couple of women!) who helped put together such a beautiful Mother’s Day Brunch.
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