Friday, September 02, 2005

La Vela and Helping the Grieving

We sat on the terrace outside La Vela and watched the sparrows dashing above the treetops in the falling light, soon replaced by bats gliding about in the dark, illuminated here and there by the spotlights below. After incessant questioning by the maƮtre d' throughout the meal, we finally admitted that the food was merely passable. He earnestly promised to shoot his chef.

During the merely passable dinner with accountability partners, I sought advice, in confidence, about someone ("MLB"*) I loved but was at wit's end trying to help. He had just lost his brother to cancer. The brother had accepted Christ just before he died (thanks to God working through the wonderful service of a courageous ARPC lady) to the great relief of MLB. MLB and I used to do 1-on-1 studies weekly until his brother's health started failing. Then MLB went MIA: previously rather eager to get to know God better, he'd stopped turning up for DG and came very late and rather grudgingly to service. Naturally I was concerned for his whole wellbeing and since he said he was, understandably, too busy to meet-up or talk over the phone, I offered to accompany him at the hospital where he was spending long hours. He declined and said he was really "too busy". I wanted to give him space to grieve etc so thereafter limited my enquires as to his welfare to once every week. Even that proved too frequent for him and he flared up and said I wasn't his boyfriend so I should stop asking. So I lay low. Then during the funeral, he accused me of not having ministered to him enough while his brother was dying. Fortunately, I am blessed with the little-acknowledged gift of Thick-Skin-ness and wasn't at all bothered.

Now, even after he has been relieved of hospital duty, he hasn't gone back to his DG, nor resumed bible studies and continues to refuse to answer queries as to his health (mental, spiritual and otherwise). Of course I am very very concerned for him and the external outlook is bad. However, the last time I enquired again politely how he was, he told me categorically to "stop it!" and followed that with some other accusations.

Since I have the Gift of Thick-Skin-ness and can't really be bothered to prove myself to anyone in anyway, and also trusting that God knows and searches my heart (eg. Psalm 7:9, Romans 8:27, Revelation 2:23), I am not so much concerned with his accusations but more that he know and understand that there are people who love him and want to care for him...and are just trying in their actions to love him and care for him.

Someone who had lived longer explained that as he read the situation, when MLB said to go away, he actually meant come here.

A slightly bewildered shadow,"You mean when he shouts at me and tells me that he doesn't ever want to hear me ask that question again, I should go and hug him and ask that question?"

"Trust me."

"Then why can't he just say,"Hug me?"

*shrugs* "Dunno."


That sounded as illogical and as suicidal as hugging a hedgehog.

PP is right. My generation is fast growing to the age when more and more of our immediate family members will start dying off. I will have to learn what it means to serve my brothers and sisters in this stage of life.
"Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law." (1 Corinthians 9:19-21)
And for love of MLB, I'd be more than happy to hug a hedgehog. With God's help.

*details have been changed to protect the grieving and grumpified

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