Helping Friends Cope with Trauma

When someone you know has been dealt an unspeakable tragedy, go, be there with them. Don’t think they “need space.” And when you’re with them, a few things not to do: Don’t compare your loss of a pet with their loss of a child. And don’t tell them, “You’ll get over it.” Because they won’t, and saying they will trivializes a profound moment. But there is plenty else you can do and say to be helpful.

These and other lessons for life’s difficult passages come from Catherine Woodiwiss, an editor at Sojourners magazine, who lost a sister a few years ago and last year almost lost her own life in a disfiguring crash between her bicycle and a car. She titled her piece, “A New Normal: Ten Things I’ve Learned About Trauma.”

Thanks to New York Times’ columnist David Brooks for his own take on Woodiwiss’s blog piece.

Sojourners, by the way, is a wonderful magazine I’ve just started reading regularly. Its motto is “Faith in action for social justice.” Jim Wallis is its founder. Check out his latest from his blog God’s Politics: “Empowering Women Empowers Us All.”.

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