Monday, March 07, 2011

The Fellowship of Suffering

Today is Beverly's birthday. I love her birthday, because from now until October she can't say that I am older than she is. On this day a few years ago (I can't say her age, because I didn't ask for permission), God blessed the world with the birth of this little girl who has become a giant of the faith. What an honor that God allows me to journey beside her through life. What a blessing!

So happy birthday, my love!

Saturday morning, Wise County Christian Counseling (Beverly's agency) hosted a Grief Seminar in the family room at the Decatur Church of Christ. Danny Mack, a friend who specializes in grief counseling, was the speaker. No one knew what to expect. Beverly had done a little advertising. She and Danny figured 20 people would be a good turn-out. Around 54 had rsvp'd by Friday.

On Saturday, over 70 people filled the room! We had people from Oklahoma -- and as far away as Tyler come.

More than anything, what this showed me is that there is a tremendous need to reach people who are grieving. Our culture does not do grieving well -- in large part because people don't allow others to grieve. As Danny pointed out, someone loses a spouse, child, etc. -- and they are given 3 days off to mourn. Three days?

Now, I understand the economics of this, and don't have any real answers for employers. But what do you think the productivity level of that grieving employee is? And according to statistics, such a person will miss 50 days of work over the next year (if I remember Danny's info right).

My point is that in our fast-paced culture, there is no time for grief. And so, rather than healthily dealing with it, we stuff it, mask it, put ourselves together with tape and glue -- and try to function. For the most part, we simply go through the motions. This cannot possibly be healthy.

I think that God is leading Beverly and me to a ministry that we never would have chosen. I have no doubt that for the rest of our lives, we will be reaching out to grieving people and journeying with them. We are still in the midst of our own journey. So this is where children of God link arms and travel together -- holding each other up. "The fellowship of suffering."


Jeff said...

I wish you didn't have to walk this road but I trust God that he sees more than I do and has plans far bigger than I can ever imagine and I trust he will use you to accomplish great things in his kingdom.

Kristen said...

I thought it was a great seminar. I needed to hear that there are no sequential stages to grief. You will go back and forth in the process. That was a relief to hear. I had wondered why I "slipped" backwards. Knowing I am not abnormal (in this context anyway) was a relief!

bartsirmandvm said...

I'll walk with you brother.

Cindy said...

I wish I could have attended this seminar. When I lost my dad, my job expected me to perform 100% once I came back. I took a week off after his death. When I went back, I was a mess. I couldn't concentrate and I just didn't care to be all cheerful and greet everyone of my students with the usual "good morning." After about 2 weeks of torturing myself, I quit my job. I stayed home and hid in my room. I didn't know how to grieve. I didn't know it was okay to still cry 2 months later. I have learned in the last 6 years that there is no time limit for grief. Healing is slow and painful. I will not visit my dad's grave at the cemetery because I don't remember the day we put him there...maybe I do and it is just a refusal in my mind to let me process that day. Some people have faulted me for this, but in my heart I know it is only his body in that box...his spirit and soul are waiting for me in Heaven. Grief is ever is a hard process. I hate that any of us have to go through it.

Missy's Mind said...

I had a dream last night, Josh & Jonathan were sitting next to you on a pew in a church. You were silent, Josh was silent but Jonathan started talking about the process of grieving that you all were going through and that it was tough because you weren't being allowed to grieve. His eyes started tearing up, and I told him it was okay to grieve. God understood your grief. Josh reached out and put his hand on my hand and you guys all just started crying at once, letting out a sigh of relief that you were allowed to grieve openly.

I find this an odd dream as I had not read this entry yet....

My prayers continue to be with you and Beverly and the rest of the Ross Family.