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."