As is often the case, Ginger Miller and I found ourselves seated next to each other at BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). We shared a bit about what was going in our lives these days. Out of that quick minute came this—a discovery that our experiences were intersecting in a beautiful way. She told me about the 13-week grief support group that had just begun at the Lamb Steele Building (Imlay City Senior Center at the corner of M-53 and 395 E. Third Street). She handed me a flyer about the group, asking me if I'd promote it. The graphics on the handout showed a cracked goblet with the following words: PICKING UP THE PIECES: "BLESSED ARE THEY THAT MOURN FOR THEY SHALL BE COMFORTED."
That discussion between us happened a week ago, and I noticed that the information on the flyer said the group had begun the day before our conversation. "True," she said. "But that was just kind of an introduction. It's fine to join in at any point. Holidays can be very difficult if you are grieving. Sometimes joining with others can help. We meet from 1 to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays."
It is my understanding that this happens right after the lunch at the Center. There is no charge. There is easy access and easy parking by the gazebo just below the water tower. Contacts are Tracy Ruhlman @ Senior Center: 810-724-6030 and Ginger Miller: 810-724-5772.
The broken goblet picture and the "Picking Up the Pieces" logo on the flyer prompted me to mention the book, "Shattered Dreams" by Larry Crabb, which I have been reading. "Maybe I can combine these two things in my column next week."
"Actually, Larry Crabb is one of our DVD presenters for our group!" Ginger told me.
So, dear readers, I hope you'll have a little patience with me as I share again from that book. The part I had already planned to share this week isn't actually about grieving. It is from a section titled "Desire or Addiction?" Even I was surprised, though, to see that this chapter and the topic of grieving share similar and overlapping themes. Mull over and absorb these few paragraphs from "Shattered Dreams" with me: If you'll recall, last week's column, which was barely in the newsstands yet when Ginger and I talked (so she hadn't read it...well, neither had I after I'd e-mailed it in) spoke of Naomi and her grief—still so painful when she returned to her homeland that she asked her neighbors to re-name her Marah (bitter). Against that backdrop, read this little section which I read later on in the book:
"Why was Naomi able to see God's hand when He began to move in her life? Many people can't. Why could she? I think it was because she entered her heart so deeply, feeling all its pain, that she eventually stumbled into the core of her heart, where she wanted God.
"People who find some way to deaden their pain never discover their desire for God in all its fullness. Instead they live for relief and become addicts...to it.
"Inconsolable pain, the kind that drives away every vestige of happiness and renders us incapable of fully enjoying any pleasure, can be handled only by discovering a capacity for a different kind of joy.
"That is the function of pain, to carry us into the inner recesses of our being that wants God. We need to let soul-pain do its work by experiencing it fully."
So...whether or not you agree with Dr. Crabb's comments, perhaps you'd like to check out this group which offers fellowship with others who are at some stage of picking up broken pieces.
Email Willene at email@example.com.
Willene Tanis is a longtime resident of the Imlay City area and an active volunteer in the community. Many readers find her 'Perspectives' column to universal and uplifting.