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Finding Others When the Lights Go Out

July 3, 2020

Finding Others When the Lights Go Out


As the darkness of grief slowly engulfed my soul, I kept thinking, "I need help."  I knew I needed help.  Losing a child was more than my heart could handle.  I had friends, and in their own way they did their very best to comfort me.  They did reach out; they bought me gifts.  Some made me things; others helped me regroup my house once the crowds left. But I needed more.  I knew I needed more. If I was going to survive this tragedy; if I was going to retain my sanity... I needed help... So, in the dark, I started reaching out...


The very first person I reached out to was Sis. Phyllis Addis. I remembered as a child listening to her testimony of how God helped her through the loss of her own child. I remembered her telling how she had a complete nervous breakdown, but God helped her recover. I wanted to know her secret.  How did she recover? 


Her advice to me... Work! Fill your day with work!  House work! School work! Yard work! Church work! She also talked with me about her experience, how others had responded to her child's death, and how she had to find her way back. Other than working... I think the most valuable thing I learned from her is that "you have to find your way back." Others can't do that for you.  So, I made up my mind I would find my own way back.


Another person I visited not long after Andrew's death was Rev. Bennie Sutherland (Richie Dee Sutherland).  I so loved this preacher.  He had taken time out to speak to a young girl during his revivals at our home church.  When I saw him, I envisioned the father I had never had the opportunity to know.  It had meant a lot to me as a young girl that someone as "famous" as he was would care enough to make a young girl feel important.


Bro. Bennie and his wife had also lost a child. Something he said to me that day has forever stuck in my mind.  He was preaching a revival (I think) in Waynesboro at the time. He was at Bro. ID and Sis. Emmie's home.  I visited them there.  Bro. Bennie looked at me with that stern look he can have. (If you all know him, you know what I mean.) And he told me that he too had asked God, "Why us or Why me."  He said that God had responded to him, "Why not you?" That stayed with me forever.  And it's so true...


Human suffering comes to all men because of the fall of Adam.  When something tragic happens in our lives, we wonder "Why?" "Why me?" So many "Whys." But if we are believers in Christ, shouldn't we embrace suffering as an opportunity to show the grace and love of God to others who also lose their loved ones? Shouldn't we seek to use our suffering to grow closer to Christ? Shouldn't we "count it all joy?"


Now at the moment, it stung a little. I was looking for a bit of pity if you want to know the truth about it.  But Bro. Bennie did more for me than I had hoped for.  He shook me a little in the darkness. He reminded me that I certainly was not the only person in grief. And his pep talk gave me courage to see past my blind grief... look to the greater purpose of my life in Christ... and move closer to the light.


There were others, as I have already mentioned Bro. Sheppard, who helped me heal through this process. People I worked with (Kathleen Craft), people who were friends with me (Doyle Davis and his precious wife, Jean), people who reached out to me (Larry Turner)... I could list names forever.  But each of their kindnesses helped me recover. Each one meant so much to me as such a dark time... like little flickers of hope to let me know I was going to be okay. And each one compounded upon the other until one day there was a flame... eventually there was a torch... finally there was sunlight again.


So, if you are experiencing the darkness of grief today...

I encourage you...

Reach out in the dark until you find a face.

Reach out in the dark until you find a hand.

Reach out in the dark until you find a shoulder.


Then... listen.

Listen to their stories of how they coped.

Listen to their stories of how they grieved.

Listen to their stories of how they recovered.


Look for the flicker.

Look for the flame.

Look for the torch.

Look for the sun to shine again!


To Be Continued.