In the past few years this congregation has shown some real strength as a community in our willingness to discuss some hard topics and have some difficult, but necessary, conversations. We have had
conversations about depression and anxiety, about issues related to aging, about end of life decisions, about hospice and palliative care, and most recently, about medical-aid-in-dying.
I am proud of our congregation not only for engaging these difficult subjects, but even more for the forthrightness and openness to share our own thoughts and experiences and to listen to others. We have shown that this is a safe place to say what needs to be said, and to hear what we need to hear. And we have discovered that having these conversations, asking questions, wrestling with ethical and moral problems, are all part of an authentic life of faith.
We will have an opportunity to have another difficult conversation in February. Did you know that at any given time, 1 in 17 adults are considering taking their lives? Even more heartbreaking is that the number is greater for youth, 1 in 6. On two Sundays, February 4 and 11, I will lead a workshop called Soul Shop™. It comes out of two training events I participated in last year, training to lead groups in learning how we can prevent suicide.
In the Soul Shop™ workshops we will learn a bit more about the nature of suicide and also learn some ways that we can lead people who are considering ending their lives to safety. I am not being overly dramatic when I say that by participating in this workshop, you may be preparing yourself to save someone’s life. You need no special skills or previous training to participate in this workshop. With a few simple conversational tools you can learn how to speak to another person in such a way as to lead them out of despair and into a safe place. You can ease the suffering of someone dealing with the hopelessness and isolation that accompanies suicidal desperation. You can save a life. All you need is a heart for the well-being of
others and a willingness to learn and engage.
Join me for this important conversation, February 4 and 11, at 9:00 am in the Meeting Place.