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False Offers, Real Friends – 3 Years Later

April 28, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe path between social media and real life is an odd one sometimes. It’s easy to say, as many do, that the social media world isn’t real. You push a button and your comment goes “out there” and disappears like a ripple from a rock thrown into a pond.

Only sometimes it doesn’t go away. Three years ago we were unable to post anything. Real friends were calling from states away to see if we needed anything. We dodged a direct hit that day, but so many didn’t. The scars are still there, and although it was a trying time so many lost so much more that I can’t help but be thankful it wasn’t worse.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast night a small town in Arkansas was thinking of that 3 year mark when they were hit again. A $14 million school, rebuilt and set to open next fall, is now gone again. I see comments from snarky to downright cruel come up, and people wondering why anyone would live where there’s tornadoes. The reasons are many. Tens of thousands of people are injured or killed in cars every day but we still use those too.

What’s harder to brush off is the offers of “if you need anything call” that meet with silence. This, unfortunately, isn’t limited to disaster times. It’s not limited to financial – sometimes it’s passing the word along or something that helps but costs nothing.

As we’ve shifted this spring from having outside work to relying on what’s sold, sometimes those kinds of help can be huge. I hear people facing trials and it’s all too easy after a suicide to say “why didn’t someone do something?”

Maybe Someone was busy and God sent you. Maybe we’re all the somebody in a situation this week. We also can note those false offers can take time and energy from those real friends who will help.

It’s only natural to wonder and question why, and perhaps it’s not intentional. Sometimes it happens in odd ways that don’t make sense at the time. After all, it was the aftermath of 3 years ago that the ideas for the disaster timeshares came forth, and although it’s still a work in progress, it’s an alternative for some.

Be the person that follows through. We can’t change others but we can sure alter our own actions. Empower community, be it online or “in real life.” Especially for those who have a hard time asking for help, there’s little worse than asking and getting no response, then later saying “I said ask if you need help!”. Be receptive to the request, or don’t offer it.

It’s often repeated be kind because everyone is fighting some kind of battle. That’s so true of people under stress, whether seen or not. It might be pain management, it might be financial, it might be a situation for which there isn’t a good answer…but when it’s hard to ask to begin with it means those who need help stop asking, which can spiral.

I heard another case recently of someone battling depression who killed herself last week. Every day 22 veterans on average take their own life. If it was any other cause killing 22 people per day it’d be news. If 22 people get sick from beef the world knows.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow many of those 22 are asking for support from you, in a small way you may not even notice? How many have stopped asking because “it doesn’t do any good” or they “don’t want to burden anyone”?

I post about community often on here, as I think it’s important to be a part of community. It’s a safety valve, a network of people that have each other’s backs. If not, it’s time for a better community! Make it or find it.

The sun shines again after the storms. Since the tornadoes three years ago there’s been many days of warm, sunny weather. Today we’re under storm watch again, from the same storm that raked Arkansas and Oklahoma last night. We’re praying for safety in the storm…and need our community (yes that’s every one of y’all!) to help in day to day without storms.

After all there’s more nice days than stormy ones. Make the most of it. Let’s all strengthen communities to better weather the storms, both literal and figurative.  Start today.

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