The markers of completing my time at Redeemer are now fully on the horizon, no longer obscured by Advent and Christmas. Even Epiphany has come and gone. As I look ahead, my calendar is filled with pastoral appointments with parishioners, 3 mental health workshop trainings, a funeral, 2 preaching assignments along with the other ‘normal’ routines of parish life. The end is now measured in weeks, soon to be days. And the passage of time is only accelerating. I am feeling sad. I am grieving.
Clergy deal with grief on a routine basis. That is a ‘normal’ part of living even though there is not a normal pattern to the process. Everyone grieves differently. It is hard work to grieve ‘well’ so the emotions are not masked or ignored. It takes time and patience. I am reminding myself of those elements now.
One of the most valuable lay ministries of Redeemer is our Sacred Space for Grace; an offering for those who have experienced loss, not necessarily of a person. We grieve the loss of a job, a relationship, a pet, a dream, a disappointment. Our society does not always hold up such losses as significant or having emotional/spiritual/ physical consequences, yet the reality is we each can suffer from such wounds.
Sacred Space for Grace is a 6 week small group program facilitated by Ruthie Cromwell and Nancy Bowen both trained in grief work. It is offered in the fall, winter and spring.The ‘curriculum’ includes such topics as What Does Grief Feel Like; Stress Reduction; Experiences of Grief; a Grief Counselor from Gilchrist; How Grief Transforms. The next session begins on Saturday, January 26 from 10-11:30. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up. This is a community offering so if you know a non-Redeemer member, please encourage them to contact us.
I appreciate the quote below as I think it holds such wisdom….and is a valuable reminder that my own ability to grieve will hold blessings ahead.
“It has been my distinct experience that our capacity for joy is in direct proportion to our capacity for grief. The more we do the honest work of allowing our emotions free movement within us, the greater the possibility that joy will be one of those feelings that comes to visit or reside in us.” Christine Valters Painter