Allison's Book Bag

To Help You through the Hurting by Marjorie Holmes

Posted on: December 10, 2015

Grief has always been a part of my life. For that reason, I decided to reread To Help You through the Hurting by Marjorie Holmes for my weekly review. In this short book, Holmes covers various aspects of grief, including that which comes from losing a parent or a spouse, as well as the sorrow one feels over local and world tragedies. Her approach various from prayers, columns, letters, and even a few essays. I enjoyed her inspiration.

“I am in labor, Lord. A terrible labor of the spirit. And it is infinitely worse than childbirth because right now I can see no deliverance….” Thus starts the initial selection in To Help You through the Hurting, which incidentally also happens to be one of my favorites. Through this first of many prayers, Holmes honestly captures the depth to which one can feel pain. Her lament ultimately turns into praise, when Holmes ends by offering thanks to God for helping her build strength to endure future sorrows. Another favorite selection of mine is a narrative about young Barbie, who was born with a clot which over her short years caused many ailments. Barbie never lost her zest for life, despite multiple hospitalizations, and surgeries. Like many Christian young people, she felt impassioned by a call to commitment. At the same time, her faith didn’t completely insulate her from the feeling of frustration and disappointment over being continually sick. Barbie was real. The majority of the writings by Holmes take the form of columns, many of which stirred me. One I particularly connected with is about how family members scatter over the years, coming together only when loss impacts them. Then getting together becomes imperative, a compelling desire, for ones must gather in honor of the person who has died but also to bring comfort to one another. Holmes understands human emotions, the full range of them, and warmly shares them with readers.

Did I enjoy every selection? No. Indeed, the more books I read and review, the more I realize that even my favorite authors will have moments of not impressing me. One post that failed to emotionally move is called The Crosses. Why? For starters, Holmes waxes for a few paragraphs about a broad green Iowa pasture. When she eventually does get to her point, I fail to see the same symbolism as Holmes. Telephone poles have never made me think of crosses and even her two pages don’t convince me otherwise. If I were to fault anything else, I would have to acknowledge seeing the sporadic typo in my edition of To Help You through the Hurting. Neither of these minor issues, however, stopped me from finding hope and comfort in the outpourings of Holmes about loss.

As I rediscovered To Help You through the Hurting this week, I took notice of Holmes approached grief from many angles, all drawn from her personal experiences. Holmes shares of losing her dad, then her mom, and even her husband. In sharing of her dad’s passing, she writes of how it happened in the night but also of the memories. For example, her dad loved roses. When remembering her mom’s death, Holmes finds a new focus and describes how the family put aside differences when they came together to grieve. A few sections are dedicated to the loneliness felt after her husband died, as well to the experiences and her eventual God-arranged second marriage.

To be honest, collections of inspirational writings aren’t often my first pick for reading when at the library or a bookstore. Yet I have enjoyed Marjorie Holmes since an adolescence. She perfectly balances doubts with hope and, in doing so, allows me to journey with her as she asks questions and finds answers. Her light and sincere style always immediately feels inviting, no matter what my mood. Finally, because her writings are about heart matters, they feel relevant no matter what one’s situation. And so, decades after first discovering her, I continue to view Marjorie Holmes as one of my favorite writers.

My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.

How would you rate this book?

4 Responses to "To Help You through the Hurting by Marjorie Holmes"

I know a lot of folks that need the inspirational stuff. I’m not one of them though. As for grief we all get to experience it from time to time. Life is filled with disappointments.

Have a terrific day. ☺

Thanks for your comment. Yes, grief and disappointments are part of everyone’s life, and we’ll all have our ways of dealing with the negatives in life. Help might come from family, friends, or … inspirational books. 😉

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