By Jake Hall
published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 4/23/15
For six years, I never said a word. I stood behind a pulpit and asked others if they had any prayer requests, even though I kept silent about our family’s deepest prayer. We were praying for a child. It was just too difficult to name in that room.
This week is National Infertility Awareness week. The theme is: you are not alone. Infertility is so personal and so private that one may never know the pain and isolation of the couple sitting in another pew.
Care in Christian community means being sensitive to our neighbor’s pain and compassionate to those who are hurting among us. This gives us pause to consider the ways that we offer
care in our community, whether the need is infertility, grief, parenting, loneliness, or addiction. As a congregation, we are beginning congregational care groups that create space to talk about the physical, emotional, and spiritual impact of these and other struggles. The church should be the safest place to name that you are having a hard time, yet I believe there are many items that remain unspoken on our prayer list because they are just too painful to name in such a public setting.
Two such groups will soon begin meeting regularly: the first for grief and loss and the second for infertility. We will meet to share stories, offer words of care, and simply be heard. We will find strength in sharing our experiences, asking questions, voicing our doubts and fears, and naming our struggles. These care groups will offer resources and confidential, supportive care to those in need. If you know of someone experiencing grief or infertility, I invite you to point them to our group pages on Facebook (Macon Grief Group and Macon Infertility Care Group) or by contacting our church office.
As we implement these groups, one hymn sings the loudest, “The Servant Song.” Its final stanza reads: “I will weep when you are weeping. When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you. I will share your joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey through. When we sing to God in heaven we shall find such harmony. Born to all we’ve known together of Christ’s love and agony.”
Let us not remain silent.