Finding Hope & Peace after the Shock & Awe of Painful Experiences

Chery —  December 10, 2013 — 4 Comments

Last week was the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

I wasn’t alive yet on that day, but immediately my mind thinks of events that have filled my lifetime that bring shock and awe, experiences that are burnt into our consciousness so deeply that it only takes one of our senses to catch a glimpse or a wiff, or a sound and we are instantly transported back in time.

Days like September 11, 2001.

  • Days that are impossible to understand and process.
  • Days that remind us who we are and what we stand for.
  • Days where strangers become friends and family.
  • Days where we grieve and work together.

Days that interrupt the life we have always known and distinctly mark it as the past, leaving us no choice but to create an alternate reality.

Days that we are all reminded that we were created to be a part of a community.

When I think of the days where shock and awe bring us together, I also think of days where painful events alienate individuals from the community we need:

Days we live through these words and the emotions and realities that go with them:

  • Bankrupt
  • Infertile
  • Betrayed
  • Orphaned
  • Mental Illness
  • Cancer
  • Terminated
  • Deceased

And then I think of the people that have pushed through the loss, the confusion, and the pain.  …People that grew wiser, and softer and stronger and turned the shock and awe into a defining moment.

People like Dave Ramsey:

  • That endured huge financial losses and the embarrassment of bankruptcy
  • Resulting in a marriage crisis
  • Humbling him
  • Clarifying his priorities

He looked for the lessons in the pain and grew wiser.  The heartache married his natural strengths with a deep understanding of what it is like for people to be in financial crisis.  And he began to teach others what he had learned the hard way.  Instead of talking down to them, he related to them.  Ultimately turning his pain into a beacon of hope for others and a great career for him.

People like Patsy Clairmont

  • That have moved through the emotional and physical pain of deep depression
  • That have felt the stigma that is often associated with mental illness

She learned to understand and accept that chemical imbalances in the brain are just as real as insulin imbalances in the body. Today she leverages her story and her gift of humor to connect with others, offering hope to others like her, and understanding to others.

People like Russ Knight

  • A man that has been through several job transitions that have filled him with a deep understanding of the mental and physical struggle that is part of a job search.

Today he consistently brings people together that have been through that struggle themselves.  Together they have created a unique and incredibly effective job transition ministry in Tulsa, OK.

People like Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson-Cannino

  • He was imprisoned for 11 years for a rape he did not commit.
  • She was the woman he allegedly raped.

Today they are friends and work together to free other innocent people from prison.  Their story, uncommon alliance and friendship is a witness to the power of truth and forgiveness.


Below is a small list of good that can come from pain-filled shock and awe experiences:

  • Your priorities become clear
  • You become a better family member
  • You become a better leader
  • You become a better friend
  • You become a better neighbor
  • You learn what you are willing to fight for
  • You learn what you are willing to die for
  • You learn what you were born to do
  • You learn that risk must be taken
  • You learn that God is faithful

Image 3

Your Turn!  iStock_000009905754XSmallWhat would you add to this list?

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4 responses to Finding Hope & Peace after the Shock & Awe of Painful Experiences

  1. A lovely post, Chery. And a great reminder that we are surrounded my heroes every day.

    Heroes have survived pain, adversity, and struggles…and become more humble and grateful human being after the experience. This takes mental toughness and I see how you’ve put your finger on the pulse of what it means to have both a strong mind and a strong heart.

    Well done, my friend!

  2. What an uplifting post. In the midst of struggle we feel like we’re the only ones, that it will never end, the light at the end of the tunnel may appear for others… but not for me.

    Each of these people inspire me and show me what’s possible. You do the same. Life is not always ideal but it’s what we do and how we reach out to others to powerfully share our experience that makes a difference. You do that and I appreciate you.

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