This weekend our church hosted a GriefShare Bootcamp. This is the training procedure of the GriefShare organization. GriefShare is a thirteen week DVD study series that is distinctly Christian in approach to learning to cope with the pain of bereavement and loss.
About five years ago Royce and Carol Ogle talked me in to hosting a GriefShare cycle at our church – and they had my wife and I in mind. Our son, John Robert Dobbs, died at the age of 18 on May 21st, 2008. We were still dazed and enduring the jagged pain of grief when we entered into the room with a dozen other bereaved people to watch the first GriefShare session. Royce and Carol lovingly guided us through the series … even during moments of pain and tears … they stood by us and taught us what they had learned through their own painful journey with loss. It was a real component of the healing we needed.
Since then I have watched the series six or seven times, having been mentored in leading the group by the Ogles. This past weekend we held a GriefShare Bootcamp – a seven hour training seminar to help equip new leaders. We enjoyed meeting with a dozen or so people who desire to lead a GriefShare group in their own church. I believe in the coming months we will see four new groups develop, potentially more. I rejoice in this, although that sounds odd. I wish no one would ever die, but the truth is that we will all die. And when someone dies there is a family left behind to try to cope. It is a special privilege to journey with someone during this especially vulnerable time of life.
A few reflections from our training time …
*It makes me smile to realize how God sends people with compassionate hearts to serve the Body of Christ with support and encouragement.
*There is a certain kind of courage that allows a person to step into the dark journey of grief and attempt to shed some light on a path to healing.
*It is the person who has experienced grief who is most willing – and most committed – to helping others.
*There is still a lot of fear and avoidance when it comes to thinking about death and dying – even among Christians and even Ministers. One wonders why there isn’t a grief recovery outreach in every church? People in every church have died and will die.
*One doesn’t have to agree with everything said in a DVD teaching session to gain a great deal of help and knowledge from it. When we reject something because an aspect of it is different from what we believe we allow the absence of Christian support to needlessly remain.
*I’m grateful for the immense supply of material from the experienced GriefShare staff that helps give confidence to those wanting to reach out. They have done their homework and the result is a high quality excellent product.
I’m so grateful for GriefShare and for my friends Royce and Carol Ogle and the compassionate care they showed to us in our darkest hours. I will never forget that. They truly lived out (and continue to live out) the encouragement of the Apostle Paul:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. ~2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Check Out Royce Ogle’s Blog.
Here are some books for your Kindle by some of the GriefShare contributors.