The human journey from birth to death provides us with significant changes, and life unfolds as a constant adjustment to losses and gains. Each significant loss is an occasion for mourning and letting go, and the family of God is the best equipped source of encouragement and sustenance during such experiences.

Loss is not only about the death of someone dear to us. Loss is also the experience of a broken relationship, a divorce, a breach of trust, or a disabling injury. Grief and loss also occur when dreams die, when jobs are lost, when friends leave town, or when we ourselves move away.

Some losses are public, other losses are private. Some losses are not acknowledged or recognized: the miscarriage, the abuse, the rape, the missed promotion, the status lost, the chronic pain, or the loss of identity or safety.

Some losses are sudden, while other losses are gradual. Alzheimer’s, disabling accidents, altered capacities, involuntary retirements, suicides, and a loss of faith are sometimes called disenfranchised losses, because they rob of us of irreplaceable relationships or valued realities.

The journey of faith requires a sense of trust during the emptiness that follows loss. The valleys during loss are places where we live “in between,” with a recurring anxiety that life will never bring us further joy, or even peace of mind. We are companions together in the mystery of changes and the silent darkness that sometimes surround us, for a while. We are also friends and faithful followers who sustain each other in such times, until we reach the next light, while listening for the caring voice of God.

Now and then at River Road Church we schedule Grief Care Dialogues to introduce ourselves to each other during our losses, and to discover common ground and holy nurture –in the changes. May God always provide for you and yours, in the inevitable changes of the journey!