Many of us “people watchers” have an interest in what others are living, doing and, maybe most of all, going through in their lives. Many of us do that for good reason; we are facing issues ourselves, and we feel like “why is this happening to me?” or “What am I going to do?” or “I feel so lost and alone, and no one really cares.”
Each of us has concerns about health, loss of a loved one, separation from loved ones, loss of job, being a caregiver, a general inability to cope with the issues of life surrounding us and more. Here are some possible conversations you may have overheard:
• “Beverly could not have anticipated the tragic turn her life would take when she kissed her beloved husband Dave goodbye one morning. He said, with a big smile, “I’ll see you later” and left, never to return again. In the weeks that followed the fatal car accident, Beverly was still in shock and alone with her thoughts. Many friends told her that Dave was ‘in a much better place.’ But the ‘place’ Bev wanted Dave was ‘by her side.’ She loved him so. She knew he was dead, but just couldn’t believe it. She was in shock, couldn’t even cry. She felt so alone in her grief and needed someone to help guide her, to point her in the right direction and walk with her with the ongoing resources she so desperately needed then, to show her how to experience and manage her grief. Beverly heard about Stephen Ministry from a friend, contacted them and was assigned Cindy McIntosh as her Stephen minister. They walked together, in friendship and faith, over the next year down the path of dealing with her grieving process.”
• “Daryl thought he was invincible at age 28. He was a former high-school football star, was married to his high-school sweetheart, had a good paying job and was healthy and enjoying life. But over the course of three years, it all eroded away. He lost his job when his plant was bought out and closed in a bad economy. Six months later, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. They had to move in with his parents. A short time later, his father, with whom he was close, died of a heart attack. His mother’s deteriorating health declined even faster, and she had to be placed in a nursing home. As a result of the stress of all these changes, his marriage started to come apart as his wife had trouble with the responsibility of these difficult circumstances. Daryl felt a ‘huge hole in his young life’ that seemed impossible to climb out of. One of Daryl’s friends heard of Stephen Ministry, and he made a call to a church in the next town that had a Stephen team. Alex Morton was assigned to help, listen, refer to the needed local resources and help Daryl restore his faith.”
•“Becky’s husband Tom was five months into his fourth deployment. When he returned from the most recent deployment, he was different and distant. Becky expected their lives to ‘start back up, just like it was before he left’ the minute he walk back through the door. The kids shared Becky’s expectations as well, but it all changed. The closeness of their relationship didn’t come back with him. The distance with the kids, the drinking as an excuse and the unwillingness to talk about it caused a lot of damage. And now he was gone again for another tour. The kids were having trouble at school, and she had depressive moods that made it almost impossible to want to get up mornings and go to sleep at night. She saw counselors for answers, but even though they provided help, their schedules were booked and she could only see them once or twice a month. Becky needed someone she could talk to and to be there with her, maybe every day or even the middle of the night, to help her try to sort out each issue and find answers.”
There are thousands of similar issues taking place in our community every day. Stephen ministers do make a difference. Anyone who needs the confidential, caring counsel of a Stephen minister does not have to be a member of a church, there is no cost and all relationships are one-to-one, gender sensitive and confidential. If you or someone you know needs unbiased care from someone who truly listens to how you feel, call 320-7840 for an appointment.
Scherer is a crisis intervention minister and the leader of the local Stephen Ministry.