Nothing can prepare us for when tragedy strikes. It sneaks up like a thief in the night. And while we cannot do anything to completely avoid tragedy, we are not destined to be destroyed by it. Our inability to prepare, to control, is only equaled by our ability to respond.

When tragedy strikes, it is the way in which we reply that most determines the effect. There is room for sorrow. Plenty of room. There is room for anger and confusion and dreariness. These are natural responses to tragedy. Necessary responses. We often try to gloss over the pain, thinking there is room for either acknowledgement OR healing.

The truth is we have the capacity for both.

Negative emotions are so weighty they seem to fill our whole atmosphere. But there is room for more. Room for hope. Room for learning. Room for perseverance. Room for intimacy. Room for forgiveness. Room for growth.

We are much stronger than we think.

We cannot prepare ourselves for tragedy. But in its wake, we can keep breathing. And we find, impossibly, that our hearts, our souls, and our minds expand, revealing a capacity bigger than we would have imagined ourselves capable of.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
– Deuteronomy 31:6