We have 11 grievers at the 111th Spark of Life retreat who have taught us so much already.
Hello, I’m Dave Mathews from Spark of Life, and I want to share with you the one important thing for a healthy recovery after a loss that these grievers have taught us. At Spark of Life, we want people to find hope after loss. That’s the number one thing. So 11 grievers have come. This is Friday at the retreat and these grievers came on Thursday and last night they shared their stories of loss. It’s a dark night at Spark of Life retreat, and there are tears. There are tears there. There are tears. We heard horrific stories of loss, of suicide loss, losing three kids, two children, of divorce, betrayal, hurt, and pain of losing a husband to COVID. All these losses come together and here are these 11 people that come from all over the United States, and they come for one purpose and their purpose is to get hope.
Have you ever been there? Have you ever felt hopeless and helpless and didn’t know what to do after a devastating loss? It could be death loss or it could be non-death losses. They all suck. Don’t they? The suckiness of grief is that it sucks the life right out of us. So last night at the retreat, I asked these 11 grievers a simple question. How many of you have ever felt hopeless? Every single hand was raised, even among the leaders. Really, we had 15 people there. The leaders all raised their hands. I’m one of those leaders. I felt hopeless. Have you ever felt hopeless that life would never be good again, that you can never have true joy and meaning and purpose in life again? And so these 11 precious people came and as we talked last night, the number one thing that grievers have in common that we see through doing 111 of these in-person retreats and two virtual retreats with over 1,500 people coming, here’s what we see all the time. Grievers often think something is wrong with them because they’re not grieving away others think they ought to grieve.
They’re so sad and they’re so deep in the pit of grief. Have you ever been there? Then I ask, have you ever felt helpless, that you didn’t know what to do? And every single hand again went up. Every hand went up. So here’s what we’ve discovered from our giants. The people who have blessed our lives, people like you who are searching for answers and searching for hope in this world that has dealt you some bad things. Here’s what it is. The one thing that they’re telling us is, I want meaning for my life again. How do I get it? The first thing I want to share with you and the only thing in this video is you’ve got to somehow believe in your heart and your brain that someday I will have hope again and listen to people who want to come beside you and walk with you and help carry you and give you a specific strategy that you can begin to think.
But in one day, by this morning, we saw a different spirit in all these people who’ve come to this retreat. Do you know what we saw? There’s nothing really wrong with them. They don’t need to be fixed. They have the power within themselves to find hope and meaning in life again. Sometimes we just need somebody to come beside us. So they’ve taught us something and they’ve taught us something real positive. What do I want to avoid in my grief, in my reaction to horrific loss? I want to avoid a purposeless meaningless existence. That’s what I want to avoid. What do you want to avoid? I want to avoid a life that’s devoid of joy and of happiness again. I want to do the things I used to love doing. I want to enhance the other relationships that are important to me. I don’t want my grief to be debilitating and to take away my joy of living and for a while, I got to go there.
And the positive thing is that these grievers … something else, just by the mere appearance of them at this retreat and it’s this, that there is hope and then they’re saying, “Give us something to do. Help us believe that we can have hope again.” And so the number one thing, the number one thing, if I was talking to one person, one person, and they asked, “David, what’s the number one thing?” I’m saying, “I’m going to help you believe the power within yourself to have hope again.” Thursday night at the retreat as the people were sharing their stories of loss and why they came and chose to come to this retreat, there was such overwhelming darkness and sadness, it’s like that in every retreat. But even in those moments Thursday night, we had laughter that came in between the tears.
And then as we started the meeting of the retreat on Friday and went through that Friday, we saw more smiles come. It’s like that in every retreat. And then Saturday comes, the pictures you’re looking at are from Saturday night at our retreat that was just finished here in September 2021. And you can see the faces. We saw hope again. We saw hope for tomorrow, and hope to get up and live forward with my pain. And then Sunday as we said our goodbyes and we released balloons and all these unbelievable people had hope all over their faces. That’s what it means to live forward with hope. Find hope after loss. It’s possible. At Spark of Life there’s always, always hope.