Caring Ministry Blog

Our Caring Ministry team consists of trained volunteers who provide emotional and spiritual support through compassionate listening and being a caring presence to people going through a difficult time. 


Coping with the Holidays for Those Who Have Suffered a Loss - Week 2 of Advent

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“Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.”

     --William Shakespeare

Feel whatever you feel.  It’s a simple enough thought, but that journey can take us through some dangerous landscape in our soul. And so we are tempted to circumvent that journey with various distractions… the busyness of the season, filling our lives with activity, sometimes even meaningful activity.  Some people may try to hurry us through this season, or insist on continually trying to cheer us up.  Others may give advice on what we should and shouldn’t feel.  For those on the journey of grief, at the end of the day, our feelings beckon us to be acknowledged.  We can do our best to claim those feelings as a part of our healing.  Some of the feelings that may arise are sadness, despair, anxiety, anger, guilt, apathy, or gratitude, to name a few.  Slow down and take some time to name your feelings and allow yourself to feel them.  Where are they lodged in your body?  What discomfort do they create in you?  What comfort do they provide you?

Equally important is to find a way to express those feelings.  There are different ways to express ourselves.  Some people cry long and hard while others hardly at all.  Some prefer to talk a lot and others tend to be quiet.  Some like to write, while others keep their hands busy in other ways.  Many find comfort in sharing their feelings with family and friends, while others are comfortable with acquaintances, colleagues, or even people they hardly know.  The important thing is to find someone who listens well and responds thoughtfully.  The St. Barnabas Caring Ministry is a compassionate group of folks who have been trained to listen well and respond thoughtfully.  They are ready to respond.  

Our Caring Ministers are here to listen and companion you this Christmas season.  Please contact Patti Anderson, Pastoral Care Associate, 303-388-6469, or email us to learn more about receiving care.

The Psalms are a prayer book full of expressions of feeling that can guide us in expressing our feelings to God.  Many psalms invite us to express our lament to God.  Choosing a Psalm to pray as our prayer can be a good start toward expressing ourselves in prayer.

Psalms to ponder: 


Coping with the Holidays for Those Who Have Suffered a Loss - Week 1 of Advent

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“The Yule-log sparkled keen with frost,
No wing of wind the region swept,
But over all things brooding slept
The quiet sense of something lost.”

      --Alfred Lord Tennyson

For those experiencing the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be a time when we feel that “quiet sense of something lost”. This can manifest itself in a dull physical ache, an inability to focus, a sense of being tired, a lack of energy to relate with those we love, sleep disturbances, and appetite issues.  All this at a time when our culture says we should be celebrating with friends and social gatherings filled with holiday cheer.

The Caring Ministry is sponsoring an article every week of Advent with some ways to help those faced with a loss to cope with the holidays, along with a scripture to meditate upon each week.  Accepting the likelihood of pain at this time of year is a good place to start.  Our pain is a sign that we have been blessed to draw very close to another.  We have loved and been loved, and the hurt we feel is a sign of our human “fleshy” connection with the one we have loved.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that the holiday will be awful…there may be lovely moments of joy and love shared with family and friends, too.

Some ways we can honor the pain are…

  • Keep an Advent journal—write about past memories, present experiences, and future hopes, draw and create or even write a poem or psalm
  • Give yourself permission to do less—hand write a few cards rather than sending out a slew of them, say “no” to gatherings that you may find draining, take a walk
  • Reach out to those with whom you feel safe—it is normal to feel anxious around groups of people when you are suffering a loss.

Our Caring Ministers are here to listen and companion you this Christmas season.  Please contact Patti Anderson, Pastoral Care Associate, 303-388-6469, or email us to learn more about receiving care.

Scripture to ponder:  Isaiah 43:1-4