A pastoral approach for the journey of healing and wholeness through sharing one's Latvian grief story / by Ruth Sonia Ziedonis.
Through the process of sharing one's grief and loss story, healing and wholeness occur. The writer submits that to understand the depth of suffering and hope within the grief stories of Latvian immigrant parishioners, one must explore the history of the Latvian people as well. The project reflects upon the grief stories of the writer's Latvian immigrant parishioners; elaborates on some of the history of Latvia, paying special attention to the trauma of war and the process of healing from post-traumatic stress disorder; and analyzes difficulties within present independent Latvia. The project also focuses on the significance of theology and storytelling within the community. As a pastor of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church, the writer has made many pastoral visits to the elderly in their homes, nursing homes, and hospitals, and has recognized that many parishioners struggle with heavy issues of grief and loss. In life-changing events, grief is a natural, highly personal process that can lead to emotional and spiritual healing and personal growth. The purpose of this project was to analyze the grief stories of parishioners in relation to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's stages of grief. Providing a safe and stable environment for the parishioners to share their grief stories helped many of them to move through the five Kubler-Ross stages--denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance--in dealing with their grief. Others became locked in anger or depression, or even died in the midst of anger or depression. Even fifty years since the war and their immigration, some elderly parishioners are afraid to venture outside their immediate Latvian community to accept the hand of their next-door neighbor or people of other cultures. Through the pastoral approach of giving compassion and encouragement, parishioners have experienced healing. This project concludes with a theological analysis of the acts of storytelling, confession, and forgiveness. Through God's grace, the parishioners have responded in faith within their Latvian community, by forgiving themselves and others, and experiencing healing and wholeness through telling their grief stories.
Record last modified: 2018-05-22 11:47:00
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