From: Rich Carlson
Date: March 27, 2019
Subject: It's March 27; Good Morning Union

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”         Galatians 6:2

Two days ago in light of the tragic loss of Reagan Deiter, I shared, via Ugroups, some insights on grieving and caring for those who are. I received several affirming responses and I want to share with you the message of one of them because I think it is so insightful. So I’M not writing GMU this morning. Listen instead to one of your peers as they share their heart and their hope.

Good afternoon, Pastor Rich,

I just read your email about how to deal with the grief any of us may be experiencing. And I just wanted to reach out to you in hopes you can clarify something to further help those that are struggling even more.

As you mentioned in the email, it is very important to talk about your struggles and your feelings and your grief. I don't pretend to be any expert on these things, but a year and a half ago I experienced the biggest grief and consequent depression that came after because I was given a devastating and serious medical prognosis. Since then, I dealt with a lot of frustration in how people dealt with my grief, and have since studied the trends of others going through grief; what helped, what did not help.

While sharing your feelings through grieving is probably the most impactful and healthy thing you can do when grieving, how those friends/mentors react to the grieving person can be a turning point that can make or break the healing cycle. We all need to learn to listen, not talk. The grieving person is overwhelmed and they are going through a lot of feelings that are hard to relate in verbal wording. But once they have vented, cried, and yelled it out and most importantly have felt like their feelings matter and that they matter and that they were heard, that is when healing begins. And the more they can open up, the further they get. However, this can be most detrimental too because too often we don't listen. We usually do 1 of 3 things.

1 Distraction and Silver Lining: as soon as they come to us and say "oh man, today was really hard..." we say we are sorry, and then we move them on to bigger and brighter things. We get them to focus on the silver linings. This is helpful in the moment cuz it may make them feel better temporarily, but when they are in their bed that night, alone, trying to get some sleep they realize they didn't get to vent and now it's piling up.


2 Advice and Relating - as soon as they come to us and say "oh man, today was really hard..." we begin with a nod and say something to the effect of "oh I totally get it, when I went through this I…” and hijack their moment to open up and feel. We also desperately try to give relevant advice, as if we can heal their wounds and make their grief disappear. This is detrimental because they feel like they can't talk about their situation, they feel like you don't want to hear their conversation, and they get angry because your advice does not help in their situation. Essentially, you've taken their grief and made it about you.


3 We Blame the Wrong Person: When I recieved my diagnosis, I cannot tell you how many people told me "it’s in God's plan" or that "God has a reason.” But this is so, so wrong. God did not give this disease to me. Satan did. God helps me through, He does not designate my pain. God is there to pick me up, He does not push me to fall. God's plan is perfect, Satan did this to me. And Satan probably laughs at us every time we say that to another grieving human being because we are blaming the wrong being. And he didn't even have to lift a finger to get us to do it, we came up with it all on our own and we use the blame, the excuse, every single day.


Instead, we need to let the grieving people cry. We need to let them try and explain the depths of their pain without interrupting. We need to nod so they know they genuinely have our attention. We need to listen so they may feel valued. We need to hold them if they need strength. We need to be there when they just need someone in the room cuz they are afraid of being alone. We need to muster up every ounce of selflessness we have and make it about them, the grieving person.


I'm not sure if any of that made sense, but every time something like this happens, I notice lots of people posting on social media that they are "here to talk". But nobody says they are "here to listen". So the grieving people generally don't open up, because they've been burned before and would rather navigate the waters of grief alone than have their vulnerable feelings tossed to the side so someone can give them advice or get them to see the bright side. I don't know if any of this is anything you would share with the student body. But I believe with all my heart that it is SO IMPORTANT for us to be there for those who are struggling, the right way.

Best regards,


Have a great day caring for all our school family today (and every day),

Pastor Rich


Quote for the day:      “I believe that appreciation is a holy thing--that when we look for what's best in a person we happen to be with at the moment, we're doing what God does all the time. So in loving and appreciating our neighbor, we're participating in something sacred.” - Mr. Fred Rogers

PS        Human Development & Campus Ministries Presents:

Daily Quote/Verse: “ It is God who arms me with strength and makes me way perfect” Psalm 18:32

Today’s topic will be on anxiety, look forward to our email later today!


\Stop by Ortner between 1:00-2:00 PM for a treat!