Offering Spiritual Support to Others (Part 2 of 3)
People who are very ill, grieving a significant loss, or coming out of a traumatic experience often draw on their spiritual beliefs and experience as a source of strength. But, facing crisis head on or in the rear-view mirror may also bring up a wide range of thoughts, feelings and questions. Here are some questions people may ask:
– Who am I now?
– What am I thankful for?
– What is my relationship with family and friends?
– Is there anything I want to change in my relationships?
– Are there ways I need to ask for forgiveness?
– What do I regret?
– What do I fear?
– What makes me sad about my illness?
– What makes me angry?
– What is my source of strength?
– When do I feel spiritually alive?
– How do I want my family and friends to support me spiritually?
– How do I want my clergy or parish to support me?
– Are there sacraments or rituals that are meaningful for me?
– What books, music, prayers, readings, art are meaningful for me?
It is common for people in our unstable world of pandemic and unrest to ask themselves these types of questions as well. As a “spiritual companion,” you can best support others by helping them explore these questions rather than providing the answers. Actively listening without sharing your own “story” is one of the hardest things to do, but one of the greatest gifts to give and receive. But to be a good “spiritual companion” you’ll want to explore these questions for yourself first. The best support comes from a place of self-knowledge, vulnerability and a strong prayer practice.
(Content inspired by wehonorveterans.org)