Monday, July 13, 2009

A Gathering Of The Bereaved Parents

Friends asked me today how I liked New York this past weekend.
My reply was that the
New York Crowne Plaza Hotel was excellent, but
I did not venture out of their doors
a single time until my return to the airport.

New York City is not on my bucket list.
Here are a couple of reflections about the
2009 Gathering of the Bereaved Parents of the USA:

1. I count some of these people among my dearest friends on Earth. And I have only spent a few days with all of them over the past 1-3 years

2. Many true inspirational heroes are considered as such because they get out of bed every morning and put their feet on the floor.

3. Butterfly releases are cool.

4. New York City taxes are not. (raised my bill by almost 22%!)

5. Friendships which change after the loss of a child often occurs not because the friends have changed, but can be attributed more to the fact that the parent has changed. Some friendships can not deal with the changes and are lost. Some friends can more easily relate and are strengthened. I'm still mulling that one over, but I think I agree.

6. Some of the best writers in this world will go forever unnoticed and unpublished.

7. A common thread I heard voiced is this:
Not only has "the church" not provided comfort, it has often inflicted wounds.
Come to think of it,...I have heard that many times before from people with other types of pain such as divorce, mental illness, substance abuse, etc....
This thought, my friends, will be an entire blog post very soon.

8. As my airplane flew over the earth from here to there, I observed the tiny specks of cities, houses and cars underneath us. I was reminded of how insignificant I am. But more impressed with the might and power of God who has each hair on each head of the whole Earth numbered.

9. The concept of "re-framing the pain".
This means that you take the pain of your life (whatever it is) and transform it into something of value. Almost, according to one speaker, as if you are holding up a defiant fist in a refusal to be brought low by the bad things which have happened.

10. Other guests in the hotel would occasionally get onto an elevator and ride with those of us from the gathering. These poor people would often ask "where ya from? or "what brings you to New York?"
It was a real conversation stopper to tell them.
We, on the other hand, often got a kick out of their response.
11. Whenever I am asked to speak or present for this group (or any group for that matter!), I now qualify it with the condition that I can speak God's name however and whenever. The response has been amazing. Not only do they agree, but this year, there was an entire section of break-out sessions under the label of "Spiritual".
My friends there long to hear of hope.

12. No matter how badly I hurt from not having Jae Lynn's voice and presence in my home, I am filled with gratitude to God for blessing me with my family, my friends and my church who have walked this road with me and show love to me daily.

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