Markings on the Windowsill: A Book about Grief That's Really about Hope

Markings on the Windowsill: A Book about Grief That's Really about Hope

by Ronald J. Greer

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Overview

“Grief permeates most of the waking moments of those who are mourning. This book is a Christian message about the hope and fulfillment that can be known at the far side of that journey.”

—Ronald J. Greer

Ron Greer and his wife lost their two-year-old son Eric in a tragic automobile accident many years ago. In this brief, moving book, the author draws on his experiences as a father and as a pastoral counselor to offer hope, help, and healing to people who are grieving.

“Ron Greer has helped my wife and me grapple with many tough issues over the years. But all of them pale by comparison to his own personal tragedy. The loss of a child is the most devastating, life-changing event a parent would shudder to even envision. But as I have learned through the years, Ron has an uncanny ability to dig deep into our dark, unexplored emotional mines—turn on some lights—and then find those precious veins of hope.
There are no good answers to why bad things happen to good people. But there are good people who are able to use bad things as a lever to learn something profound about themselves and—in rare cases—to help others find the same emotional tools. Ron Greer has that tremendous gift. Thank God he is willing to share it with us.”

—Miles O’Brien,
CNN anchor

“For many years Ron Greer has skillfully counseled folks whose turn it was to ‘walk through the valley of the shadow of death.’ Then it was Ron’s turn. By faith, transforming a terrible tragedy into a time of deepening faith, Ron shows the rest of us the way, when it’s our time to walk through the desert of grief. All of us are either preparing for grief, or dealing with past grief, and we need all the help we can get. Ron can show you how to do grief with faith, hope—and love too.”

—William H. Willimon,
author and United Methodist bishop

“Ron Greer touches our hearts and gives us some great insights into healing and hope with this book. Ron writes from the depths of his own grief and his journey to healing as he and his wife dealt with the death of their two-year-old son. I have known Ron for thirty-five years, and he is made of the ‘real stuff.’ He enables the reader to deal with ‘real stuff’ with his book. The reader will be amazed at the hope the book produces on each page.”

—Don Harp,
senior minister, Peachtree Road United Methodist Church

“Markings on the Windowsill is sacred ground. When a person of Ron Greer’s depth and compassion bares his soul, and that of his amazing wife, Karen, one treads with reverence and rapt attention.
Be careful with this book… When you pick it up, go to a very quiet place, and plan to be there awhile.
God will speak to you. Your life will be changed. I promise.”

—Bill Curry,
ESPN sports analyst and speaker

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780687333639
Publisher: Dimensions for Living
Publication date: 11/22/2010
Edition description: Trade Paperback
Pages: 80
Sales rank: 657,737
Product dimensions: 5.06(w) x 7.81(h) x 0.17(d)

About the Author

Ronald J. Greer is the author of four books: The Path to Compassion: Loving with Heart, Soul, and Mind, Now That They Are Grown: Successfully Parenting Your Adult Children, Markings on the Windowsill: A Book About Grief That’s Really About Hope, and If You Know Who You Are, You’ll Know What To Do: Living with Integrity. He is the Director of the Pastoral Counseling Service at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, having been with this ministry for over thirty years. He is an ordained United Methodist minister, a Fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, and a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. A native of Louisiana, he has a Bachelor of Science from Louisiana State University, a Masters of Divinity from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, a Masters of Theology in pastoral counseling from Columbia Theological Seminary. Find him online RonaldJGreer.com

Read an Excerpt

Markings on the Windowsill

A Book About Grief That's Really About Hope
By Ronald J. Greer

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2006 The United Methodist Publishing House
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-687-33363-9


Chapter One

Moments by the Window

* * *

... with hands outstretched toward the window. —Tobit 3:11

Eric was not yet two and was all boy. He loved adventure. He liked to try things out. And he had a pen. We had just moved into our new home. The freshly painted woodwork around the dining room windows looked like a great canvas to this budding artist. He let his creative juices flow.

I stood there that evening looking at the marks all over the woodwork and the windowsill. They were drawn with authority, etched deeply into the wood. They couldn't be washed off. I was less than pleased.

Four months later I was standing in front of that same window, looking at those same markings. This time there was no anger. This time there were only tears.

Eric had died tragically in the accident. Our older son, Patrick, was in the hospital with his leg in traction. My wife, Karen, and I were practically living there with him. I had gone home one evening soon after Eric's funeral to get clothes and check on the house.

It was quiet. It felt empty. All I could think of was Eric. I walked through the house crying, remembering. I paused for several minutes in the small yellow bedroom that had been his. I sat on his bed. I picked up his pillow to smell it one more time.

It was time to go. I turned out the lights as I went past each room. I stepped into the dining room to reach for the switch. And there it was: the window. There before me was Eric's art. Those same markings had gone from being a blemish to being priceless.

I couldn't leave without touching it. I knelt there rubbing the woodwork, following the lines our son had drawn. I treasured every curve and slant he'd marked into that painted wood.

I could picture the pen in his little hand, the wrinkle of his brow as he bent to do his drawing. It would never be painted over. It would be forever Eric's signature.

His markings connected me with him. I hated to leave them. I wasn't ready to go. But then, I hadn't been ready for any of this.

Psychologist Carl Rogers wrote in On Becoming a Person, "I have almost invariably found that the very feeling which has seemed to me most private, most personal ... has turned out to be an expression for which there is a resonance in many other people.... What is most personal and unique in each one of us is probably the very element which would ... speak most deeply to others" (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1961, p. 26).

It is in that spirit that I offer what I have learned—in the hope that it might resonate with you and your experience. I offer these writings both as a person who has known profound loss and as a pastoral counselor who has been with countless others in their losses.

I am indebted to those who have allowed me the privilege of listening to their life stories. From them I have learned much of what it means to live courageously with grief.

My intention here is to write this as a conversation with a friend. I write much of this in the second person. I am writing to you. These reflections need not be read first to last. Read the ones that speak to you.

I have waited years to put my thoughts into writing. I did not want to bleed on every page. Instead, I wanted these words to be useful to you, so I waited until I had healed more fully and could reflect on all that I had experienced. I did not want to report as a journalist from the intensity of the battle scene; the emotion would be profound, but the perspective limited.

Perhaps now I am ready. Perhaps.

It has been over two decades now since Eric's death. I am still learning to live with my loss.

Also involved in the accident were Karen, Patrick, and our sitter, whom Karen had picked up just moments before. All were injured. Patrick, who had his femur badly broken, would be months in healing.

The emotional healing has taken years for all of us. In fact, it continues still. There is wisdom in the old saying, "There are some losses you never get over. You simply discover how best you will live with them."

This is my experience. Perhaps it resonates with your own.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Markings on the Windowsill by Ronald J. Greer Copyright © 2006 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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