One of the most beautiful gifts that I have experienced since my beloved husband Dave died is the willingness of others to simply say they care, that they are sorry; that they do not know how I feel. It is as if there is a bit of a miracle when another person is willing to be with me and hold the pain for a bit, for that while means I do not hold it all by myself.
At the beginning of November we began with our celebrations of All Saint’s and All Soul’s. For All Soul’s this year we invited one and all to attend a prayer service of remembrance and hope. I am in awe of the beauty of this sacred time in which we gathered as people of hope yet many of us deeply hurting and missing our beloved who have died.
To remember the beautiful lives of our beloved is a gift. The displays of photos of those who have died in our gathering places provide us the continued opportunity to care for those who are grieving. We are invited to remember all who have died.
We have hosted a series of bereavement sessions as well as an afternoon retreat for those grieving the loss of a loved one through death. I have been honored to listen and facilitate the sharing of stories. To provide some insight and education into the journey of grief that while we may not want to be one, we all will find ourselves. To witness as the telling of our story comes to interface with The Story of our faithful and every loving God. The people gather and remind me that we are not on an easy course when death comes into our lives. The reason we talk about our beloved’s death is because we are still grieving and will always grieve for them…and us.
I have been reminded of some beautiful lessons in these moments. Grieving does not end. It is helpful to be reminded to not rush the grieving process. We cannot fix another’s pain, we can however, as Jesus, be present to listen and to care. To simply say, “I’m sorry”, acknowledges the reality and pain. It means we are present. We can listen without giving advice, thinking there is a lesson we should be teaching them or trying to explain reason. Even when those grieving share our beliefs, it does not take away the pain of loss.
I continue to learn that we as Christians are called to be present with one another, to be in communion with one another. Jesus did not come to fix all the pain and suffering of the world, rather he came to fill the world with his presence, with his love. I believe I am better when I spend more time listening and not concerned with what I will say. “I’m sorry”, seems to be all that is needed followed by my open presence to really listen. To say, “ I care” with my time and actions as well as my words.
The season of remembering All the Saints and Souls who have gone before us is a time of care, pause and hope. To resonate with the beauty of Scripture reminds us again and again of God’s faithfulness and love and can provide a sense of hope and healing. In these final days of November I would encourage us to each reach out to another person.
Seek to care for another person who is missing their beloved Using only a few worlds and then listening may be the best experience that happened to that person and you!