I took my seat in the narrow, dimly lit, and very dated waiting room. Did they take decor tips from The Bob Newhart show set? Two rows of armed leather chairs that seemed like they belonged in an attorney’s office rather than a Grief Counseling Center. There are a lot of chairs in this tiny room. I guess there are a lot of us. Directly across from me was a little boy decked out in South Carolina Gamecock football jersey and gear. A super fan. (While I am a loyal Tiger fan to my alma mater, Clemson, I cannot deny my roots run deep in Gamecock pride. I was raised by a Gamecock father, in a Gamecock family, so I couldn’t help but smile at the little boy’s his allegiance. He was a committed fan- at no more than eight years old.)
Our eyes met. We were both equally uncomfortable and not quite sure how we ended up there. In the minutes we sat, anticipating our ‘fate’, I couldn’t help but think this little boy had probably seen more hurt and loss in his short time on Earth than I have in my thirty- one years. Sitting there alone and nervous, I felt more like the child in the room. I briefly considered calling across to him, “Hey dude, let’s blow this joint and hit up Chick-fi-la!” Fried chicken seems like a much better way to ‘heal.’ A tall gentleman appeared clutching a thick file folder. He was dressed in a suit and tie. He approached my waiting room companion with an introductory handshake. My Gamecock friend rose from his seat as he was escorted away. He turned back and looked at me, seemingly wanting approval that it was going to be okay if he proceeded. Dude, I don’t know. Yes, fried chicken would have been a much better plan.
Moments later, it was my turn. I was immediately disappointed there was no chaise lounge for me to stretch out on. There goes my Betty Draper moment. This is “grief counseling” so I guess we do that in upright chairs. And grief counseling is part of my journey, and it may be for you too. What I am finding, though, is that therapy comes in many forms: sitting with a friend eating Cheeze- its and Oreos(the regular not reduced fat) as she listens to you vent; receiving unexpected gifts and words of encouragement from friends and strangers alike; or completing an awesome workout.
And, healing can arrive from the most unexpected places: My friend Danise listened to my broken heart as I told her my story of my father's recent suicide. That day she gifted me Susan Mead’s book, Dance with Jesus: From Grief to Grace. God’s promise of being, near to the brokenhearted and saving the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18) is real. I danced with Jesus that night reading her story, and felt renewed strength. A strength that I believe is found in connection and conversation. There is transformative power in telling your story. God wants to tell His story through our story. He is inviting us to dance with Him here! My favorite thing to do is invite more people to do dance through my blogcast +podcast, Convos2Connect. Susan beautifully shared how God is with us in the midst of our grief, and that there is truly hope, healing, and joy available to us all.
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