…..from your Pastor’s Desk:
A little before midnight, October 8th, our world here as we know it in Sonoma County changed forever. Those memories, especially those of us who were evacuated and even more especially so, those who ran from their homes with just their clothes on their backs, are etched into our brains. They are very recent memories, but they will stay with us. Years from now we will remember exactly where we were when it happened – who woke us up – who saved us and our loved ones. We will also remember those who died and the heroic deeds of all who went above and beyond the call of duty including all the first responders who saved so many more lives. And we will always remember those who opened their homes and hearts to us.
There is a saying that ‘a little knowledge’ about something can be dangerous – meaning that you might feel you are suddenly an expert in the field. And even though I do have a degree in Psychology, I am by no means an expert. But I did enjoy the studies and most of them are applicable in my ministry as a priest and counselor. A lot of what priests do is to be with individuals and families through the worst times of their life. Especially so when there has been a loss of a loved one. But also when people are grieving the loss of other things as well; as many of us are right now due to the fires. Included in the required course work readings for that Psychology degree were the studies and writings of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Elisabeth (July 8, 1926 – August 24, 2004) was a Swiss-American psychiatrist, a pioneer in near-death studies and the author of the groundbreaking book ‘On Death and Dying’ (1969), where she first discussed her theory of the five stages of grief.
My intention here is not to trivialize the pain and suffering that people are going thorough currently, nor do I want to recount the traumatic experiences others have shared with me. But I do want you to know that there are ways to approach the pain and suffering and begin the necessary healing. Here are the 5 stages. I will not attempt to explain
each one. You can go ‘on-line’ and look them up for further explanation.
I feel it is important for us to know that we are working through recovery not just as individuals but as a community. And we each can be at different points in doing so.
Our parish and local community has been forever changed. In the many meetings I’ve attended with both civic and religious leaders – we see a common thread – we became
unified in the loss, the suffering, the mourning. Did it change us for the better? I think that is still in process. I mentioned the 5 stages because we are ALL moving through them.
The 5 stages are not an exact science. You don’t have to believe or agree that they are a process we must go through – or in numerical order or anything like that. I have
found them useful in counseling. Of course, I add God to the mix! And they do help know that there is future and a light at the end of what may seem a very long, dark tunnel.
What God will resurrect from this – is yet to be seen. But God can bring good out of anything. Through the Crucifixion comes the Resurrection and our Salvation.
PS: Your prayers were answered. I found the ring in a place I know that I had already looked. God answers prayers, and St. Anthony – I owe you one!