Apr 23, 2014 |
Inside Out 239: Comfort in Widowhood
I was waiting for a seat in the amphitheater in Chautauqua, NY when the woman ahead of me in line struck up a conversation. It was 1999. I know this because one of my friends had just died, and I was thinking about what to say to his wife—also my friend—and now his widow. The woman in line, it turned out, was a widow, and in the hour or more that we waited together she introduced me to some basic truths about talking to widows.
One truth about connecting with those who are in mourning, she said, was to do just that . . . connect. Overcome the inclination to be vague. Make specific plans. Go for walks together. Extend dinner invitations. Talk to my friend about her husband—she would want to know that I remembered his melodic accent and his stories of surviving the bombing of London during World War II. And the woman warned that if I, myself, had never been widowed--and I had not--I should not pretend to understand what my friend was feeling. But I could listen to how she was feeling.
I thought about this conversation when I ran into Mary Elliott’s book Living Isaiah 54: Your Maker is Your Husband. The book is not about widows or widowers, but is it is about the companionship that God offers those who are feeling abandoned, isolated, or companionless. In the US, in the year 2002 alone, that could have included the 800,000 men and women who were newly widowed. According to the US Census in the year 2000, of men who were age 55 and over, nine percent were widowers. Of women who were 55 and older, 32 percent were widows. That’s a lot of people who could be feeling companionless.
In this Inside Out podcast (click the icon above to listen) author Mary Elliott gives us a brief Bible survey on how God’s protective care is like that of the best of husbands. God’s comfort, of course, extends beyond the widows and widowers among us.
If you are a widow or a widower--or divorced or feeling isolated--perhaps Mary has just the words that will comfort you today.
For a preview of Mary Elliott’s book, click here: http://news.destinyimage.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Living-Isaiah-54-Preview.pdf