April 30th – Eleanor

Yesterday we are talking about grieving and how hard it is, if not impossible, to enter into another’s grief. Well, let me tell you about Eleanor.
It’s years ago now, but the first time she came into the church where I was Pastor, she rushed out at the end of the service, eyes red and wet. I was quicker to the door, and before she got down the front steps I caught up with her, and we spoke. She explained “My husband died recently, and I cannot get over it. This church is too crowded for me, and the worship too joyful. Sorry, I’m afraid you won’t see me again. I just can’t stand it”. I managed to get her address,and she left in some confusion. But she had sat next to one of our members, a widow herself, who had spoken to her, and the next day paid her a long visit. She listened, and listened, while Eleanor sobbed and poured out her heart’s grief. They wept together.
I visited two days later, to find that Eleanor now had a true friend at the church, and she just might come again. She was a little brighter.She did: in fact she never missed a service, and some months later she was invited by the Church to become my first Pastoral Assistant. She was reluctant, even terrified, but she said she would try. She was God’s gift to all, especially those who were bereaved, or grieving, or hurt.Her own heartbreak was healing, as she ministered by listening to others, and caring for them.She and Valerie, that first friend she made at the church, became soul-mates and together were a wonderfully powerful team in the larger team of pastoral ministry. It was Eleanor herself who said “I discovered that shouldering another’s burdens lightened my own.” Quite an under-statement. Bless her!

“Brothers, if someone is caught in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.But watch yourself,or you also may be tempted. Carry each others burdens,and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2Galatians 6:1-2
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

6 1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. If: or, although 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.  

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A Prayer:
Help us dear Lord: to shoulder those burdens which only we can bear,to cast on you those burdens which only you can bear, and to distinguish one from the other.

Now read Nehemiah Ch.1.

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