Amanda Holden has been in the news this week due to a personal tragedy. Most people will have heard that her pregnancy ended with her son being stillborn. I’m sure everyone will have the deepest sympathy for Amanda, her husband Chris and their daughter.
One of the positive things to have come out of this terrible situation is that miscarriage and stillbirths have been discussed openly via the media. This has resulted in an opportunity for many women to talk about their own experiences of deep sadness on a subject that is usually hidden. On Wednesday morning, I was listening to a phone-in programme whilst driving, it was incredibly moving to hear women who had suffered so much sadness, talk about the problems they had faced in their lives. One after another, they came on national radio and were honest about their feelings and so many of them were appreciative that at long last this subject was being discussed.
Talking through deep seated issues is an important part of the healing process, not that anyone can ever truly leave the feelings of loss. I’ve noticed that when someone dies, it can almost be ‘off limits’ to mention the person, when in fact the family really do want to talk about them.
In my own life, I was once involved in a fatal road accident when a vehicle lost control and hit my vehicle and then hit the vehicle behind me head-on killing the driver. It is something that I will remember for the rest of my life but thankfully, my friend Carl made time to come and talk the whole thing through with me. It was only much later that I realised just how important that time had been.
For all of these things, ‘chin up and get on with it’ and phrases like it are not at all helpful.
I once saw a video of Nicky Gumbel where he said that Christians have been too ready to speak and too slow to listen. I believe there is a lot of truth in this and perhaps we should try listening a bit more. We may not have all of the answers but to listen would be a good start.
If you would like a biblical foundation for this course of action, James hits the nail on the head.
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:17)