OSL Stephen Ministries
Words from Wise Women
Joan Bacon

In Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, Father Richard Rohr states, “Without elders, a society perishes socially and spiritually.” He claims the inner brightness of soulful elders provides what is necessary to “grow up” those who are less mature. During our April Stephen Ministers’ continuing education, we experienced the inner brightness of four OSL members—Eleanor McMahon, Ruth Olson, Arlene Lefler, and Karen Kratochvil—who graciously shared their hard-earned wisdom about grief, loss, and healing from widows’ perspectives.

These soulful women called their tears “liquid love” and “my words of pain to God.” They shared ways people helped them: friends who talked and listened; the comfort of food gifts, prayer shawls, and cards—especially those with personal messages; parish nurses’ gentle questions and direction to resources; formal and informal support groups; and calls and visits from pastors and Stephen Ministers. They recommended other resources: grief books, devotional readings, prayer, memorized scripture; journaling; purposeful activity like helping others. The closing advice from these wise women: “Use the tools there for you!” And look ahead to God’s promise, “All will be well.”

Father Rohr writes, “Sooner or later…some event, person, death, idea, or relationship will enter your life that you simply cannot deal with using your present skill set, your acquired knowledge, or your strong willpower. You will be led to the edge of your own private resources.” When you find yourself at that edge, remember to “use the tools there for you!” No one needs to suffer alone.

One of the great tools available to you when you’re hurting is OSL’s Stephen Ministry program. Talk to Pr. Tim Lemme or Deb Harlan in the Church Office, 336-2942, about finding a Stephen Minister who will be there for you.

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