The Compassionate Friends

With Robert and Lynda Lingle in Franklin, TN
With Robert and Lynda Lingle in Franklin, TN

The Compassionate Friends is an international organization that serves as a support group for parents who have lost children. Not long after John Robert died we began hearing about this organization from people in Monroe.  The group meets once a month and our group met Thursday night. That’s when we went for the first time.

We were glad that a month or so ago we had lunch with Petey and Marilyn Smith, who founded and oversee the Compassionate Friends group in Monroe. They were able to share with us about the death of their son Stephen, how they went about getting involved in TCF, and extending a warm sympathy toward us to welcome us into the group.

So it was their faces we were looking for when we walked into a room of strangers with a single thing in common. We were instantly recognized as ‘new’ by those who had been coming a long time. Immediately a lady began talking to Maggy, expressing sorrow that we were at a meeting like this…but at the same time glad we were there.

Of course the content of the conversation and identity of the attendees of the meeting is confidential and stays in the meeting. We sat in a cricle and had a planned program, but there was freedom to express anything we wanted to. We met a couple who’s son died just a few days before John Robert. We met people who are dealing with their loss after two decades. I tell you, there was so much pain in that room at one point I wanted to get up and run out. The intensity of grief is more than I ever imagined. After many tears, testimonys, words of encouragment, expressions of support, and spending time with others, we were glad that we went.

I’m grateful that there are groups of people that meet to help sort things out in life. I think it’s a very Kingdom thing … and I wonder if we were busy practicing all the “one another” passages of the Bible when we were together on Sunday if we would have time for the things we do? Would we be unhappy about the things that disappoint us … if we were in the mode of supporting and loving another person? Would we be watching the clock or be concerned about formalities, if we were paying attention to the hurting around us? How did church get to be so churchy? I don’t know if there’s any going back …but I do know that when we gather on Sundays our antenna’s should be up to detect those around us who are struggling … and express love and support of them.

I do not think The Compassionate Friends and The Church are in competition at all, though. I think that The Compassionate Friends is a natural growth of the Kingdom in the direction of the Jesus Life.  As recipients of their love and support, we are grateful. And Maggy who I thought might be shy in a group like that? Not in the least. I saw her giving support and encouragement to other hurting people in the first meeting. Amazing woman, if you ask me!

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Some Monroe Stuff Going On…

Jason Barnard and I will be presenting some information for parents of children called Internet Awareness Seminar this Wednesday night at Forsythe from 6-8. Plan to be there if you have chldren who use the internet in your home. Supper is at 6 followed by the presentation.

We are having an Area Wide Worship at Neville High School Auditorium on August 31st. All churches of Christ in the area are invited to participate. If you’re out of the area, come on over! 6:00 on that Sunday night we will be mostly singing, praying, and reading Scripture.

Check out the benefit Sporting Clay event for Ouachita Christian School featuring Phil and Jase Robertson (Duck Commanders!).

YOUTH: Plan now to bring your youth group to our big youth rally called Discover. The new t-shirt design has been posted. It was designed by our own Jarod Stokes … and it looks awesome.

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Thanks for reading,

john

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