Earl Johnson knows trauma. From the emergence of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s, to 9/11, mass shootings, and airplane crashes, he's been on the front lines giving comfort to communities in need. Given his lived experiences, it's no surprise that he was one of the founders of the Red Cross's Spiritual Care Response Team; helping to organize and provide on-site comfort care to both victims and front-line staff. When he started this book five years ago I'm sure he didn't know that the week of its release the world would be in a Global Pandemic. Trauma can happen at anytime, anywhere, to anyone, but the fact that we are actively living through the Covid-19 pandemic makes this book particularly timely. In fact, his chapter devoted to the challenges of comfort and the disaster of emergency infection is eerily prophetic as it draws from the Ebola outbreak and explores the possibility of a future global pandemic.
To quote Johnson, this "is a book about easing grief and trauma after unimaginable horrors-plane crashes and mass murders, deadly tornadoes and terrorist acts" and yes, global pandemics like Covid-19. Using personal stories from his life juxtaposed against tangible guidelines, checklists, and questions, Johnson orients his readers to the reality of community wide trauma and tragedy, how to navigate it as a first responder and care provider, and equally important, how to acknowledge and give self-care while avoiding burn-out. He provides this information concisely, authentically and, when appropriate, with heart-felt humor.
Whether you're actively preparing for a disaster, managing volunteers, planning a community memorial, or simply looking to understand our current crazy reality, Finding Comfort is an accessible affirmation that not only showcases how communities can continue to thrive in the face of incomprehensible trauma, but is also a much needed guide in how to navigate and process these traumas.