A friend of mine was in a car accident last weekend. Her car flipped and landed on its side. She was by herself, away from family and friends. Strangers stopped to pull her out of the wreck. They stayed with her until emergency help came. She had been on her way back from the beach when her world was literally turned upside down. She has a broken rib and some scratches and bruises. Mostly, she’s pretty sore.
I talked to her a few days after the accident to see how she was doing. She told me she wanted to stay positive because she knew things could have been much worse. And she was right, it could have been MUCH worse.
But, I wanted to validate her traumatic accident for her. I wanted to reassure her that being upset and shaken, even a few days later, is acceptable and understandable. I didn’t want her to think she had to put up a front of positivity.
It took me a few minutes to realize that I was projecting. When I went through a devastating experience a few years ago, no one just listened. I felt like I had to justify my sadness, shock, and anger. I eventually gave up trying to explain my hurt and just parrotted the same few phrases: God’s timing is perfect. Today is better than yesterday. It’s not the end of the world. But I didn’t feel that way. I just knew it made people feel better.
Instead, inside I was screaming at God. Blaming Him. Interrogating Him. Hating Him.
Why me? Why now? How could You do this? You could have fixed it a different, easier way! How can you love me and put me through this? What purpose does this serve?
WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?
As I was talking to my friend and silently reliving my own experience, one of her answers surprised me. She said, ‘I keep asking myself, why was I saved?’ I stopped mid-thought, mid-reaction, mid-breath. I had never applied that question to my situation. I wanted to know the PURPOSE of the incident instead of the purpose of the result.
I’m trying to reframe my question(s) now. I can all too easily find myself still asking, WHY?
Now, however, I want to say ‘what now? You kept me here for a reason. Use me.’
All it took was a little reframing.