It had been barely 24 hours since a 1,000-foot cargo ship hit and catastrophically collapsed the iconic Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. Yet, there it was on social media: #Baltimorestrong. Like most every time I’ve seen the hashtag with a place name and “strong” added, it rubbed me the wrong way.

I get the sentiment behind the hashtag. It’s a rallying cry, proof that we’re resilient and ready to build back, to beat this thing, to prove that collectively, nothing can keep us down. It’s uniquely American, isn’t it? Perhaps going back to our Wild West cowboy days — a horse could throw us, but by God, we were going to dust ourselves off and get back in the saddle.

While I’m not entirely sure where the hashtag started, the first time I remember seeing it was after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. #Bostonstrong.

I’m a runner and had been on the course the year prior. I was as shocked as anyone when the bombs went off, and I even knew someone who was permanently disabled by that attack. As a runner, I understood that need to show strength in the face of adversity. If nothing else, that’s one of the chief reasons we run grueling marathons. But still, something about throwing that term around felt a bit off for me.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Many times since 2013, in the face of many disasters, I’ve seen that hashtag again. Living in Ellicott City, where we had not one, but two disastrous floods in two years, the community responded with #ECstrong. You could find the phrase on t-shirts, signs and bumper stickers. Often, some well-meaning soul sold the various items to fundraise for small-business owners who had lost everything to the floods. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. But today, for the first time ever since seeing the first #Bostonstrong hashtag, I can put my finger on why the phrase — thrown about loosely and quickly — bothers me.

When we jump to show our resilience and prove to the world that we’ll build back stronger than ever, we collectively skip vitally important steps. We in the Baltimore community are in grief and disorder. In addition to losing a beloved piece of our skyline, six people lost their lives. Another 15,000 who work at the Baltimore port are now out of work indefinitely. It’s too soon to post #Baltimorestrong.

In his brilliant book “Master of Change,” author Brad Stulberg argues that each of us is perpetually cycling through three stages: order, disorder and reorder. We’ll each experience 30-plus major disruptions in our lifetimes. From divorce, to relocation, losing jobs and losing loved ones, disorder is a state we all will experience, repeatedly. Yet when we fight it, argues Stulberg, we only prolong and even intensify our pain. There’s value in sitting with our grief and disorder, with acknowledging that things aren’t normal and never will be again.

After a period of time and with dedication to understanding that disorder, yes, we can get back to some sort of stability or “normalcy.” But it will be different and reordered. And to reach a healthy reorder, we need to be in conversation with change and take productive action during challenges, says Stulberg.

Right now, the families of those six lost construction workers are as far away from reorder as anyone can be. While we think hanging up our #Baltimorestrong signs motivates and moves us forward, I doubt those families find them comforting. In fact, I’d bet it makes them feel as if no one is acknowledging how deep their loss is and how long it will take them to come to terms with it.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

I hope that one day, Baltimore will rebuild the Key Bridge and that it will be as beautiful as before. Maybe it will even be stronger and more resilient. But for now, I’d argue that we should sit in our disorder, take the time to grieve all we have lost and then begin focusing on what reorder in Baltimore might look like. It’s OK not to be strong all the time but to instead rest and gather your strength for the future.

In the meantime, if you’d like to help, donate to an organization such as Construction Angels, that assists families of construction workers lost to disaster. It’s an acknowledgement of the tragedy and can be an immense help to those six families facing a long path to reorder.

#Baltimorestrong is a fine sentiment, but it can come later.

Amanda Loudin is a Howard County-based freelance writer with bylines in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many other publications.

More From The Banner