Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mourning With Those Who Mourn

My resolution for this month is to look for ways to mourn with those who mourn - then mourn with them. I am adding something that goes hand in hand - comforting those who stand in need of comfort.

Two things have hit me thus far as I have thought about this resolution:

1) This one does not come as "readily" as becoming more poor in spirit. There are things all around me on a daily basis that challenge my resolve in developing humility. I can't avoid them; fulfilling my resolution for last month was more of a challenge to recognize those things and act more humbly as they swirled around me. Mourning with those who mourn and comforting those who stand in need of comfort, however, requires identifying those who are mourning and those who need to be comforted. It will require much more "seeking" than merely "(re)acting".

2) My field of employment (providing care for the elderly and infirm) should lend itself to this resolution, but I am not working in the part of this industry that actually provides that care. Michelle is doing so as an inherent part of her job, but I am separated from that hands-on care in most of what I do.

Due to these two "obstacles", I have determined to do three things:

1) Pray for opportunities to hear of situations where someone needs a Priesthood blessing - where I can exercise the Priesthood in a very direct way to comfort those who stand in need of comfort. As part of this commitment, I also need to take more time when I am asked to give a blessing and focus on finding out what is making them mourn while I am there to give them a blessing. (I already have had one opportunity tonight, and I will be blessing a non-member this week who will be passing away soon. She accepted the offer readily and graciously. I have had some interesting impressions in preparing for that blessing, and I'm sure it will be a very spiritual experience.)

2) Dedicate more of my time in my own job to the type of field work that puts me in more regular contact with those who need our service. It is interesting that this gels perfectly with my impressions lately to focus more of my own time on canvassing door-to-door to introduce our company and its services directly to the people who might need it. That focus has been becoming clearer over the last month, but it crystalized just recently - just as this new month arrived with my new resolution. It's interesting, to say the least.

3) Volunteer at companies, organizations and facilities that serve those who mourn and need comfort. In particular, I have felt impressed to offer to sing and play the piano at nursing homes in some of my spare time - to provide a tangible form of comfort that will not require extensive practice and can be done at a moment's notice.

In order to accomplish this resolution to any significant degree, I will need to focus even more regularly and actively seek out opportunities. I am looking forward to this month and this effort.

PS. As Shayleen hinted at in her comment, mourning with those who mourn and comforting those who stand in need of comfort does NOT necessarily include "fixing" or "solving" anything. In fact, it implies sharing grief and discomfort specifically when there is no solution or fix - when all you can give is your time and your ear and your heart.


Shayleen Lunt said...

I liked this post Ray. I've been mourning with a good friend lately and have been impressed to ask my questions and then really listen to what is said, and not really worry about "what to say" myself. I've also learned that asking questions to those that mourn doesn't always come across as trying to get shows them that you really care and want to know about their situation. A listening ear is something I can lend so easily and am glad I've been able to do it lately.

Papa D said...

Shayleen's comment inspired another thought that I am adding as a PS to the post.

Thanks, Shayleen!

chelle said...

Great thoughts Ray. Working with elderly and others who need so much care and affection helps put things in prospective doesn't it!
I know you do a great job at what you do. And I know the families of those you care for feel the same way. Even if they can't or don't know it!
The Lord knows what is in your heart and what a good person you are. I know you will accomplish these goals you have set for yourself...easily :D

Cassie Rakes said...

I am interested in seeing your thoughts through out the month. As I was looking through Personal Progress, this was one of the goals the girls and I need to pass off. I have just been pondering a little about it recently, and it will be enlightening to see your thoughts.