I started my final two courses toward my degree a couple of weeks ago. They are both proving to be more relevant to my journey than I originally thought they might be. One of the courses is called Counselling the Dying and Grieving with Dr. C. Harris. Grief is a part of life that everyone experiences and not always because of death. Losses of any kind can be painful and take us through the process of grieving. My professor shared this handout with us (picture below) and I had to share. It is written for those who care for the bereaved but I think the principles are universal to caring for those who are suffering.
With The Butterfly Project, I have struggled a little bit with how to describe my role or vocation within my vision to serve families who have experienced a crisis, until now. I am not a counsellor. I'm not a pastor in a church. But I am and have been a companion to many people in lots of different ways.
At this time of year, I always think about friends of mine I used to go to church with who lost their daughter in a tragic accident. I have never been to a sadder funeral. As parents ourselves, Mike and I sobbed, for their loss and at the thought of losing one of our own. Losing a child is the most painful trauma any parent will ever experience.
I recall going back after some time to our old church, probably close to a year after their daughter died. The service had just started and my friend got up and left the Sanctuary crying. I waited a moment, thinking she likely had at least one friend in the congregation who would have noticed and gone to see if she was ok. No one moved. So I did.
She was sitting in the room across the hall weeping. So I sat and wept with her. God, it was so sad! What else could you say or do but cry. She apologized, she didn't want to take me away from the service or upset me. I told her, 'this is why I am here.' I really didn't know what I was saying at the time but it was true.
I think we can all be companions to the people around us who are hurting. Sometimes the best thing we can do is to simply be present and share in the tears. Sometimes it really is just that simple, but no less profound.
This framework is going to be very helpful in explaining how TBP is taking shape and I hope it will be helpful to you in your relationships as well.