***Disclaimer: This is only a blog post. All is well in Cassalina world. I know writing those words can evoke a heartfelt response in less than 30-seconds from friends, family, and folks that really care. I am truly blessed in the love that floods my way when I am in need so I never use them lightly. ~Again, this is only a blog post.~ However, having a slightly stressful history, I’m often asked my opinion, “Margarete, you’ve been there, what do you think is the right thing to do given this particular situation?” This is the reason for the blog. ***
In need of prayers, thoughts, and good vibes??❤
We’ve all gotten the text, call, or have seen the post on Facebook requesting our prayers, thoughts, and good vibes from a friend. You know the person on the other end of that request is struggling and is probably at emotional wits end dealing with a stressful situation in their life or they may just need a little extra ‘oomph’ to get them through a difficult day ahead. Perhaps they are waiting on test results? Perhaps they are hoping the cancer isn’t back. Perhaps they don’t know if their loved one is going to see another day.
In 2013, I posted on Facebook that I needed prayers and I couldn’t explain why at the time of the request. Being a person that believes in the power of prayer and the strength in numbers, I asked. That one sentence, with no explanation, contained a heart full of fear and soul that was begging to be heard. At that point, it was a 72-hour, life and death, situation for our family. The ordeal happened in Italy, far away from our New York doctors, and was completely foreign to any Italian medical staff on hand. Talk about lost in translation. But you know what wasn’t lost in translation? Your prayers. Hundreds of them. Flooding to our hearts, across the Atlantic.
I know I had folks around the world praying for my family. I know we had people doing all they could, with what they had, to help our family in need. We did make it home. We did get the outcome we prayed for; to see another day.
It was a long recovery process for my son and I was left dealing with an unexpected post traumatic stress disorder. I always say, and believe, that God will give you what you can handle and He finally gave me too much.
Once again, I reached out for some good vibes as I slowly struggled to get emotionally strong enough to handle the basic aspects of my life. My adrenaline was broken. My ‘fight or flight’ response mechanism was shot. I couldn’t watch a suspenseful movie without it sending me into a full-blown panic attack. I couldn’t be alone with my own thoughts, so I often had music playing as I surfed the internet while I wrote in my journal. My mind had to be constantly distracted from my own thoughts. The second there was a quiet moment, the panic would attack. I could barely get through each day. I used food, exercise, and journaling to help me work through the process of healing. I spoke to professionals who gave me coping mechanisms and techniques I could use to direct my thoughts back to the present, controlling the attacks, and enabling me to live a quality life again. That was five years ago and it took a lot of work and a long time to manage my adrenaline and to thoroughly enjoy my quiet time, peaceful moments, and a really good scary movie.
I asked for prayers, thoughts, and good vibes and you were there. That wasn’t my first time I had asked, and I doubt it’ll be my last. Life has a funny way of throwing unexpected and unwelcome curveballs. But thankfully life seems to balance it out with the love that rallies in its defense. I have sincere empathy for that person on the other end of that post because I was there. I know that fear and that pain.
When I see those words scrolling through my feed, I stop what I’m doing, close my eyes, and say with heartfelt attention to God asking for strength and grace to all involved and then I post my comment. I let my heart connect to theirs. I trust in prayers. I do not know why they asked or what their circumstances are, but they asked, so I answered.
Sometimes folks don’t know what to do with that information. They read the text, the post, the request for prayers, thoughts and good vibes. It could be someone who just lost a loved one or maybe they’re dealing with an emergent situation, or maybe they’re just looking for some emotional support. But they are asking and you’re not sure what to say or what to do.
Should I send them a text?
Should I call them?
What if they’re in the middle of things? What if this is a bad time? Oh, I’d so hate to bother them right now.
That’s why we have cell phones, people. They can choose not to answer, they can choose to respond at a later date, but they will be grateful for your love, now. Back in 2006, before there was Facebook and before we had any social media, I had a flip phone. I’m still not sure how everyone found out, but when my daughter ‘moved up’ to heaven on December 4, 2006, people reached out immediately upon hearing Jena had passed. Though I did not answer or respond immediately, let me tell you, I can recite every single person to this day who reached out via text or voicemail. Especially the very first person, my friend Debbie, via a text that simply said, “I’m so sorry.” I’m sure she had no idea what to say, or what to do to help my broken heart, but she reached out and texted. I will never forget it.
So to everyone who has asked me for advice on this, here’s my take;
Start with a text. You’d be amazed how that can offer an exhale to the person reading it. Even if that exhale is encased in heartbroken tears.
Comment. Post on their social media wall, they’ve reached out they are inviting your comforting words and prayers.
Go. If you’re on the fence about visiting them in the hospital, go. If only for 5 minutes of sitting there holding their hand, it can make a world of difference to someone barely holding it together. If they’re not accepting visitors, they’ll tell you and be grateful you tried.
Bring food? Yes. If you’re thinking it might ease their life by cooking something, do it. No one will judge your culinary skills. Your love will not only feed their bodies but their soul too and any other guest that might stop by.
Wondering if you should attend a wake or funeral. Attend. You have more power of healing in your heart than you think. Grief can be so painful, taking some of that pain away by just being there can be such an unseen gift and long remembered.
Don’t know if you should? You should.
Don’t know if you can? You can.
Don’t know if it’s right? It is.
Those of us who have been on the receiving end know the gift of that lifeline, and those who don’t know, count your blessings.
Now go on, go give your prayers, thoughts, and good vibes to folks out there.
The world needs more of you!