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This Has Been Bothering Me...


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I am having a hard time with this situation because I don't think it's just me that has encountered stuff like this. A while back my friend faulted me for having gotten into a relationship with John. I told her that it might not have happened had I had friends that stuck around when George died. I explained to her that each of the friends that George and I had had, disappeared after he died. I told her the church could have met that need, but didn't. Some of those friends were in the church. I pointed that out to her because I felt it was something the church could keep in mind when dealing with those who are grieving, that maybe they could expend the effort to "be a friend" to those in need, so the next person isn't left desperately lonely and hurting. Last night she brought it up to me and defended the church in its lack, and said "people don't want to be around someone who is complaining about their problems or a downer". That kind of shocked me! First off, I don't think that was the case, second, I don't think the church or any of those friends stuck around long enough to KNOW whether I was a downer or not! It devalued how I felt and didn't accept responsibility where it should lay. I still maintain that if a church wants to reach out to people, they need to care about them and show it. That did not happen in my case, and I think it's important that ALL of us learn so we can be there for the next person. I have been in churches all my life, I have been on the Church Board most of that time, in charge of this and in charge of that, and if someone ever brought to my attention a lack, I would do what I could to change it. I was appalled at the lack of concern shown by them. I let her know that if people don't get their needs met within the church, they will do what they can to get them met outside of the church. She'd wanted to know why I don't feel the same about the church anymore, and how it is I could have gotten close to someone outside the church (John) when I was grieving. Gee, duh, I don't think it takes a rocket scientist....John was there, they weren't, that's how it was. I came home night after night, alone, to an empty house, no one called, no one invited me over, no one even noticed my pain and loneliness. It was hard! I know this hasn't been the situation for everyone, that there are others here on this forum that can attest to how their church was there for them, but I can honestly say, mine was not. I was invited one time to someone's house, that was it. Once! That went a long ways in meeting my loneliness! And to think a person can suddenly lose their husband, go into shock, and never grieve outwardly to anyone, that's just unrealistic and not even sensitive. I did most of my outpouring to this group, right here, as these are the ones who understood and cared. I also talked with my family. But friends? What friends?

Okay, what is your take on this?

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I cannot believe someone would say that to you. "complaining and a downer" . I am in shock too. Has this woman ever had someone she loved, die? I am not active in a church now, but grew up , always believing that church was a place you could always find compassion, comfort and support. Its so sad that hasn't been the case for you. You have helped so many people here on this site. Is there a way you can get involved with your church and push for a change, make people understand what the church is missing as far as helping people who have had loved ones die? Its probably a huge task, but I just keep thinking about all the people you have helped here. And how nice it would be for a person who has just lost their loved one, to talk to you instead of a woman that tells them "no-one wants to be around them because they complain and are a downer"... One thing I have learned going thru this is, I reach out to friends who are struggling with sadness and pain and I make sure they know they are not alone. You have done that same thing for all of us here.

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KayC –

So I guess your friend would have avoided the Lord, or worse, chastised Him for being a downer:

Jesus wept. (John 11:33-35.)

When He saw Mary and Martha in anguish over the death of their brother Lazarus, He wept. He allowed Himself to feel – and express – the depths of human sorrow.

As Christians we are called to comfort others. It could not be clearer:

“Blessed be the God ... of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Unfortunately, your experience is not uncommon. Many of us have been disappointed by the response of our church community. Being a member of a church and being a true follower of Christ are two different things. But the good news is that there is a God who loves you, and wants to comfort you.

OK, end of sermon. Sorry if I offended anyone.

Peace,

- Joe

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Kay

I tend to agree with Annie & Joe on this. It may come down to particular beliefs of what the function fo a church is in any given community.. but.. if there mission of the church is to serve it's members and others.. um.. I think they failed you and others within your community that have suffered losses.

There was NO failure on your part. And to say that no one wants to be around people who may have problems sounds kinda crazy to me coming from a church member. If the church can't be there to help you.... sheesh.

Now I might be biased.. but I have had personal experiences very similiar to yours. So, no it isn't just you.

I find a great lack within our church communities and our communities at large here where I am, of grief support. The only kind of support we have here is MAYbe two mtgs a year at only some of the hospitals.

(Unless your loved one received hospice care... then there is a few more opportunities for support... but not alot and not very consistently. Like you sign up but they won't meet if enough people don't sign up?? So really not true support one can count on.)

There is ONE church that is about 25 miles from here that has maybe a 4-6 week seminar of sorts twice a year on loss. But these no where meet the need I believe exists for this kind of ministry or support. Truly? It's pathetic IMO.

I'm sorry they weren't there for ya... but I'm glad this site is here for you & ALL of us.

(((((Kayc)))))

leeann

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KayC,

Your latest post struck a nerve with me. However, it was a nerve struck long ago with institutional religions inability to accept me as a gay person. My loss of faith in institutional religions ability to assist me in times of need did not grow out of the grieving process I faced when Jacks died. Institutional religion does not always meet the needs of its members. Why should I surround myself with an institution that says I am less of a person and which discriminates against me because I am gay. Long ago, I turned away from the institution (The Hierarchy of religions) that long ago turned away from me.

Therefore, I found my own way without the need of the four walls of a building to find a spiritual connection. As a result, there have been times, when I was told I was not a man of faith - a charge, with which I most certainly disagree. A building does not make a church. Moreover, if the individuals who inhabit the four walls of any given church do not practice the basic principles of treating each person as they themselves would wish to be treated then they are truly walls built on quicksand. A religion is only as good as the kindness, consideration and understanding of the members who inhabit that church.

KayC, I believe what you have experienced is the same type of thing that I experienced years ago for a different reason. The members of your congregation were unable to understand and accept you as you were - or as you are now. Moreover, the you as you were - or as you are now - is a person in pain following the death of her husband. Couple this with our society’s general inability to understand the grieving process and you have a certain recipe for rejection.

I am a deeply spiritual person and am deeply draw to what I read about Buddhism. It has so many words of peace and acceptance. Even the mention of a different belief (Buddhism) will lead some individuals to reject me as a person because it is not what they believe – it is not Christian. However, I have experienced rejection and I do not care. I know I am a good person with a spiritual belief and I interact with compassion toward others in my life. I live what I believe and have learned to find what I need in life not inside the walls of any church but rather inside the walls of my own heart – where my God resides.

When your church friend said to you “people don’t want to be around someone who is complaining about their problems or a downer” is indeed shocking. That is what religion is supposed to do – to help you in time of need. When religion talks the talk and does not walk the walk, they fail their congregation. Long ago, I found a different way because my religion failed to walk the walk with me.

I have found more religion in the cyberspace walls of this web site than I have ever found in any church. Each of you on this site has proven to be true friends. I could not have walked this road without you, and without my own deeply help sense of spirituality and the God within me. I have, however, been able to walk this road without the walls of a religion, because they have never proven to me that they have been able to walk the walk with me.

This is my take on what you wrote – and honest and true reality of who I am.

Thank you all for walking the walk with me.

Love and peace,

John – Dusky is my handle on here

Love you Jack

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Kay, I thank you for introducing this very important topic, and I thank all our members who have been (and will be) moved to participate in this discussion. Your post called to mind an excellent article I read some time ago by pastoral counselor Doug Manning, entitled Why Don't They Know What to Say? I found the article and just posted it in The Latest News.

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Annie,

The person I spoke with is the head Deaconess, she also lost her husband recently although it wasn't unexpected. She believes you're supposed to keep your troubles to yourself. I do not believe I was a "downer" but I worked very hard to process the many adjustments and changes and as most of you know, it takes time and is neither easy nor painless.

Joe,

There was no offense taken because I wholeheartedly agree with what you have said.

Dusky,

I lament over the church' lack towards people...for many years I labored in the church as a leader who set about instilling change and calling people to excellence. Then when I needed to be on the receiving in...I was blown away. I experienced the same thing and worse when I went through a divorce years ago. It is something that tells me there is a radical need for change.

Marty,

Wow! This quote from the link you gave us is exactly one I have heard from her: "Some churches seem to thing that to grieve is to deny faith."

Thank you all for your responses, I just had to get this off my chest. It has bothered me that outside my family NOT ONE "FRIEND" I HAD "BEFORE" CONTINUED TO BE A FRIEND "AFTER". Isn't that amazing?!

Edited by kayc
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Hi Kay,

It's a real shame that the people who should comfort and help you out just are not there as they should be. It really is their loss in many ways. Those so-called church people don't even know the meaning of giving to someone in need. It does take all kinds in this world. We are here to care for and comfort others. Jack and I were going to find a church home, he was a caring and giving Christian man, and I have my Christian faith, too. But we wanted a "home" together - we certainly got interrupted. About two years after he passed away I decided I needed to finish some things I needed to do, and through my friends at Curves started attending their church. It was the best decision I've made. I have very caring, giving, and supportive friends there that have helped me through some tough times, and I do the same for them. My family is wonderful, too. I am very lucky. I hope that the time may come for you to try another church home, you never know. This church has a motto - reaching up to God, and out to people - and they really do. You can see by the many posts that this is of real interest to us, and it should be. You hang in there, Kay. Good things will happen for you because you have such a big heart.

Your friend, Karen :wub:;)

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Karen, Thanks...I know all of the churches in my very small town, there isn't much choice, I can't think of a one I'd want to go to right now, it's sad...I've gone all my life. Oh well, God doesn't reside in a building, He's within us, but I sure wish there was a place I'd fit.

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Small towns can be difficult....everyone thinks they know everything it seems. Maybe something might come down the road. But you are so right, God's in your heart and you have a big one. Please take care and keep on plugging along.

Your friend, Karen :wub:;)

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Kayc,

I was one of the lucky ones, the church I joined has been there the whole time for me and so have a bunch of friends that Karen and I had. They are still active in my life. The church I joined was after the fact as we weren't going to church at the time. But I can also understand where people come from. What do you say to someone that has had someone die? They are afraid of saying something wrong to us and we get mad. But if nothing is said and we get mad so they can't win either way.

Love aways

Derek

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Blessed are the sorrowful for they shall be comforted.

I think that speaks to all of us and maybe we are the ones that will make a difference in this world.

It wasn't through my church but 2 weeks after Tom died I heard of a woman in a small town 15 miles from here whose husband had been also diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and they gave him 2 weeks to live. This couple had lost theri daughter in a car accident 1 year earlier also. I knew she had to be devastated and I thought about calling her but with my own grief so new I just couldn't do it. Finally, I decided to do it and wouldn't you know he died the hour before I called, so I just told the person answering the phone who I was and why I had called and that I was so sorry.

I heard she was having a really hard time and wouldn't answer the phone or come out of the house and someone suggested I try again, but no one answered the phone so I left a message telling her who I was and why I called. Still no response. So a couple of months ago I thought I would try one last time -same ending.

Well, the other day I got a letter that I couldn't make any sense out of at first because I saw the type written signature and thought it was my friend who I talked with the day before. As I read on though I realized it was the woman I had called and she said she can't talk on the phone but she would like to meet and talk. So maybe I've begun to make a difference in someone's life.

If each of us could reach out to someone (maybe within your church), then that person would reach out and we could cause a chain reaction and turn things around.

This forum really helps but like my "lady" said she wanted to talk in person.

Let's all try it, just one person at a time and have that person return the favor (straight, gay, no matter ethnicity or religion, etc.)

I haven't set up a meeting with her yet because it has been really busy here but I'll let you know how it turns out.

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Hi Kay,

We are here for you. I have found friends on this forum who have been with me through my darkest moments, who have inspired me and listened to me when I felt like losing hope for the future and You are one of them and I want to thank you again for all the help and encouraging words you gave me.

I thought I have friends before but I realized that they were not there for me during those times that I need them most. I have learned to deal with my grief through the support of this forum and through my faith. I dont go to church anymore but I am comfortable with my faith. Yes, I still see my friends sometime but I am no longer comfortable sharing my experiences with them, and I am fine with it.

Please hang in there, we are always here for you.

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Kay I am sorry I did not respond sooner, just wasn't sure how to respond, but like John this struck a nerve with me. That woman is not your friend and if it were me I would leave that church and find one that is right. For all you do for that church and they could not be there to support you during this time? You know where your real friends are and we do understand and we do support you and most of us would not be where we are now if it hadn't been for your support to us. Do what is right for you, do what your heart tells you.

Love,

Wendy :wub:

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