Survivor’s Guilt – A deep sense of guilt, combined often with feelings of numbness and loss of interest in life, felt by those who have survived some catastrophe.
I have heard from a lot of people over the last couple of weeks who, like me, are experiencing survivor’s guilt. My home wasn’t damaged by Harvey. No flooding, no loss of cars or property, no evacuating. I have a deep sense of guilt, and I am not sure what to do with that. I know this sounds like whining and it probably is. However, it is no less real.
I am thankful that I recognize that there is an issue and that I need to do something with it. Combine this with anxiety about finding a job and worry about my father’s health, these are all warning signs. Potential triggers that could lead me into isolation and behaviors I don’t want to revisit again.
Life right now in the Houston area isn’t normal. There are areas that are still impassable. Many people are out of their homes and away from work. In short, lots of short tempers and anxious moments. Normal life is at a standstill. Routine doesn’t really exist. And that can also be detrimental to me as my recovery life has a rhythm, many constants. I haven’t been able to meet with my sponsor or my sponsees. Recovery meetings have been canceled. Our Prodigal recovery worship service hasn’t met. Lots of uncertainty.
I am very aware that God is using this time in my life to teach me to trust Him in EVERY area of my life, including my work. I don’t yet know what that looks like, my work I mean. I do know what trusting Him in my work looks like. I am learning it from His people. Yesterday, I was talking with a guy I know who runs a recruiting firm locally. We have only met a few times but have developed a friendship. He made it clear to me that he knew that God was working in my life to identify where He wanted me to be but it was obvious He hadn’t done so yet. So then he asked to pray for me right then and he did. That was special and welcome enough. He also asked for God to allow him to be a part of what He was doing in my life, to walk beside me through it. Like I said, God keeps showing up and making His presence known.
Last Sunday, our pastor talked about survivor’s guilt. About how he personally was worrying about that. And that God showed up and spoke through his wife. She told him, without prodding, that they had been spared any damage because obviously God needed them to minister to those that did have damage. To comfort those in need and to reach out to those that needed help.
I haven’t done a lot, but God has allowed me to minister some. My youngest son and I have gotten to help my niece move out of a damaged apartment that would have been a health issue for her newborn baby. My wife and I got to volunteer at a food bank at a church we used to attend. I have gotten to reach out to my friends and neighbors and support them however possible whether it be through providing clothes or shelter or whatever else possible. Ministering is good. Living out God’s design is life altering. I know prior to entering what I call recovery, I wouldn’t even have recognized the impact on my friends and family. I am thankful that I know what survivor’s guilt is and that God has a purpose for me in the aftermath of Harvey. He has a purpose for all of us.