new friends appear.
It is just like the days.
An old day passes,
a new day arrives.
The important thing is
to make it meaningful:
a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day."
- Dalai Lama -
Author Profession: Leader
Born: July 6, 1935
Last month I started participating in a new grief group at my church. There were about eighteen women and one man in the group. I decided to take this class so that I can learn more about dying, grieving, and issues related to death and share what I learn. In order to help anyone, I need to keep learning and talking to people to gain more knowledge.
During the first meeting, almost everyone told why they were there. Many of the participants had lost husbands, some lost parents, and a few lost children. Everyone was in pain. Most of the participants had recent losses or within the last couple of years, but a few were still feeling pain many years after the loss.
While in Oklahoma visiting my family last week, I met a couple of people who had lost loved ones. One in particular sticks in my mind. She was a grandmother who had taken care of her 18 year old grandson since he was 6 years old. I met her grandson and she has done a wonderful job with her grandson, he is a gentleman.
The reason this lady sticks in my mind is because the death of her 20 month old daughter is still very fresh on her heart after 20 plus years. Her daughter died when she walked in the path of her grandfather's tractor. He died of depression and grief five and a half years later. The lady said her husband never recovered from the accident and the guilt he felt.
My sister was at the same table with us and until this was brought up, she was silent. After the subject of this lady's loss, my sister stepped in full speed. She shared her own story of the loss of her only daughter, my niece. After that, these two women (my sister and this grandmother) had created a bond. A bond that no one could create unless you have lost a child. It was wonderful to see this in action.
The grief meetings I have attended and this lady, have lead me to a new epiphany. Please don't take this lightly. It may sound like common sense, but until these experiences it didn't really set in:
"We never know what someone else
is going through if we don't talk to them.
We must be willing to step outside our comfort zone to start a conversation with a stranger or go to some place new to meet new people (such as the grief meeting)."
Communication in our present world is suffering. There are a number of situations that demonstrate this communication crisis we are experiencing:
- Younger and younger children are refusing to listen to parents. Compared to when I grew up, you had to listen to your parents (and obey) with no questions asked.
- Young adults don't always feel responsibility for caring for older parents or grandparents any longer and can and do go for long periods of time without even speaking to them.
- Often husbands and wives are both working and involved in activities where they barely see each other and if not for an occasional text or phone call, rarely communicate, just for pleasure.
- Texting, social media posts and comments, emails, voicemail, and rare phone calls have replaced sitting on the front porch and talking, or conversation at the dinner table, and often those little discussions right before you drift off to sleep.
- Many times when someone goes out for some reason, they are in such a hurry or are so focused on the task, that they fail to notice other people around them and rarely strike up conversations with anyone.
- Some people don't even know who their neighbors are or they don't develop friendships with them.
Basically, we are so digitally addicted, we are deprived in the human skill of actual communication. If we spent more time noticing other people and speaking to them, we would discover there are a lot of lonely people out there (not to mention people who need someone to talk to).
As we age, our social group decreases in size (most of the time). Many of our friends and family have either passed on, moved on, or have become ill and unable to maintain a friendship.
If we don't continually seek opportunities to meet new people and hopefully, increase the size of our social group, we will suffer mentally,
emotionally, and sometimes even physically.
My challenge to you is to start today - right where you are - and make a list of places or things you can go to or do that will bring you into a new group of people. Places where you can meet new people and develop new friendships.
You will be surprised to learn that many people are just as much in need of new friendships as you are. You won't meet new people by sitting in front of the television or sleeping all day.
By joining this grief group, I have learned more about people I already knew and our friendships are much stronger because of it. There are negatives here, I mean we are discussing death, but the positives are wonderful ones.
It helps to know people going through the same thing you are going through, no matter what that may be.
Do you actively seek new friendships? Where do you go to meet new people? Have you ever felt you have met someone for a reason? Please share your experiences and start a discussion. Help someone who may be going through a rough time.