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How do you bloom when you have been suddenly transplanted?

Published: Sunday, July 3 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

How do you bloom when you have been suddenly transplanted?

Recently, a reader asked this question. I received this email the same week of the devastating tornadoes in the South.

As one lady was grieving her loss, she shared how her husband had spent years building their home, and it was utterly destroyed in 10 seconds! She was suddenly transplanted.

A week prior to the tornadoes, an old college roommate sent me an email sharing her surprise and hurt from abruptly being released as Relief Society president without a thank you, nod, wave or an explanation. She was suddenly transplanted.

Another friend shared how she had been dear friends with someone for many years only to wake up one day and this friend no longer wanted to be friends. She couldn’t even reach her to get an explanation, a response or anything. My friend was suddenly transplanted.

So the question was this: How do we bloom when these sudden events happen in our lives and create an emotional or spiritual whiplash?

Without sounding boastful, I think I am pretty good at blooming where I am planted. In fact, one of the best compliments I have received came from a reader who told me that he thinks I flew first class to "Holland," the unexpected life. I have come to embrace the challenge of turning lemons in to lemonade.

However, I will be the first to admit that to be suddenly transplanted throws me off my game. I am fine with change when I am able to chew on it and digest it, but dealing with sudden losses, or sudden disappointments or sudden hurt is not my strong point.

Therefore, I called a friend, who happens to be a therapist, to ask her what her thoughts were, and she shared a few ideas that were helpful to me, and so I thought I would pass them along to you.

First, she said that events happen fast, but processing of them takes time. It is normal to stew over things, think things through and wonder what happened. The fact that we are unsettled, confused or hurt is normal, and these feelings take time to work through.

She further pointed out that when things don’t make sense, there is more to the story that we may not ever know. She cautioned that we should not fill in the story or the void with our own doubts and fears. She explained that in a world where we can get information instantly, this does not hold true in relationships — they do not operate on instant messaging.

There will be times when it may take years to learn what happened or why so-and-so reacted as they did. Again, until we know the rest of the story, we need to learn what we can, but don’t fill in the void with our own doubts and fears.

S. Michael Wilcox shares similar insight in his book “What the Scriptures Teach Us about Adversity.”

In referring to the story of Jacob in the Old Testament, Wilcox said, “As the famine increases, Jacob’s 10 sons travel to Egypt to buy food from the stores Joseph has accumulated. Joseph, recognizing his brothers and wanting to prove them, takes Simeon from them and demands that they return with their younger brother Benjamin.

“As the famine continues and the necessity of a return trip to Egypt manifests itself, Jacob, fearful of losing Rachel’s last son, tell his other sons, “Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me. … Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother? (Genesis 42:36, 43:6).

“Jacob’s words are instructive in that nothing he says is actually true. Joseph is alive, a counselor to Pharaoh, and Jacob will soon be united with him. Simeon is also still alive, and Jacob will not lose Benjamin. In reality, none of these things are against him. All are working for his salvation and that of his family. Soon even the famine, which he does not know will last seven years, will no longer be a concern for his survival. From an eternal perspective, no one has dealt ill with him — he just doesn’t know it yet.”

Wilcox continues, “We all misread events often. Time and faith heal these misconceptions. Many times our worst fears have no basis in reality, but only the passage of time will tell us that. In the meantime we fret and pour out our anxieties to an understanding God.”

It is human nature to try to understand why so-and-so said this or did that, or why we lost our house, our job, our calling or a relationship all the while assuming they are working against us. Our limited perspective and misconceptions often bring us the inner turmoil we struggle with.

The passage of time will give us the perspective and answers we need.

In the meantime, how wonderful it is that we do have a loving, understanding and perfect Heavenly Father whom we can turn to. He will send us his Spirit, and though we may not have concrete answers now, we can be comforted, and that will make it so much easier to bloom even though we have been suddenly transplanted. 

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