December 8, 2011

Local Couple's Book Addresses Spiritual Side of Grief Process

by Hannah Kiddoo

On Friday, December 9, Main Street Café will be hosting a "meet the authors" event for "Lazarus, Come Out", a book recently written by David and Elaine Howlett.

When the Howletts' son, Craig, unexpectedly died in 2000, their relationship with God took a direct hit. "I went to a place where I was terrified of losing my faith. I didn't know if there was a God," said Elaine.

But as they went through the grieving process, the Howletts discovered a new way of viewing God. "Grief took us to a very dark, tomb-like place of despair. We questioned everything we thought was true about God," said Elaine. "Through the scriptures, God systematically called us out of that darkness to a life of healing, hope, and genuine joy."

The Howletts co-authored "Lazarus, Come Out" with the goal of helping others grieving a loss. They said that while other resources for grieving families are available, their book is the first that tackles the issue of grief in a spiritual manner.

"We've discovered through this whole process […] that there are four sides to grief. One of those sides is spiritual grief," said Elaine. "There are many books out there on mental and emotional grief but nothing out there that really deals with the spiritual side of grief," she added.

David, who currently serves as pastor at the Memphis United Methodist Church, hopes the book will help others find hope and a relationship with God. "Our point is not to push any thought or idea on people but just help folks come to an understanding," he said.

"Lazurus, Come Out" is organized as a 10-week scriptural study guide and can be used for both group and individual sessions. Each week contains five daily exercises and scripture that the Howletts found helpful when coping with the loss of their son.

The Howletts noted that while the book was written from the viewpoint of Christian parents coping with the loss of a child, the lessons can be applied to many grieving situations and a variety of faiths. "Grief is not a denomination kind of thing," said David. He further noted that the book has references from both the Old and New Testaments and is meant to help anyone struggling with a loss.

The book has been endorsed by several prominent figures including Rabbi Earl A. Grollman DHL, DD and Bishop Fritz Mutti of the United Methodist Church.

"David and Elaine Howlett invite grieving parents into a profound spiritual quest," wrote Grollman. "They help us to discover new meanings with insightful questions, Biblical references, and personal stories."

Copies of "Lazarus, Come Out" will be available for purchase between 4:30 and 7 p.m. during the December 9th event. They can also be bought through online retailers or by contacting the Howletts at 660-465-2082.

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