Grief isolates us. Nowhere is that truer than at the holidays. The time between Thanksgiving and New Years can feel forbidding. The music, celebrations and activities that used to gladden us now leave us empty. Holidays have a way of turning up the volume on the pain that comes with grief. If they had their choice, many of those experiencing grief would prefer to skip the holidays altogether.
It's at this time of year that people in a season of loss can feel most misunderstood by those around them. With the best of intentions, friends and family try to cheer us up and make things better. Often, they don’t. Attempts to cheer someone up sometimes makes things worse.
That is why I am grateful for our “Navigating Grief in the Holidays” workshop at New Hope (Saturday, November 11, 10:00-Noon.) People who lead it understand the minefield that is the holiday season. People attending can be confident that no one is going to try to make everything “better.” The point is to get our bearings, find out what might help- and what doesn’t. There won’t be lots of platitudes or quick-fix slogans. Instead, there are people who have gone (and are going) through the same thing themselves.
I have part of the presentation that day, too. I know faith can be a great source of comfort in a season of loss. It can also be used to deepen the wounds. I’ve learned some things over the years that can be helpful and am happy to share them. I know that we often put God on the wrong side of our suffering. I also know some of the dumb things well-intentioned religious people say to those who are hurting. Sometimes it helps to name them.
Maybe you know someone who could use a workshop like this before the holiday season kicks into high gear. Invite them to come and learn together. Maybe that someone is you. I hope you’ll come. If it seems good, here is a link to let us know you’re coming. It’s not mandatory, but it helps in the planning if you would. The grief we experience in the midst of loss is a pain unlike any other. It is also part of the sacred journey of our lives. It marks us and shapes us. Sometimes just knowing that can make that journey a little less lonely.