If you had looked through the window of the building at Brompton Road last night I wonder what you might have imagined the 45 people sitting there were celebrating? A range of people, men and women, from different backgrounds and ages seemingly with nothing in common.
I doubt you would have guessed correctly that these were a group of separated and divorced people celebrating the successful completion of Restored Lives – an eight-week course that offers support and practical advice for people who are going through or suffering the after-effects of separation and divorce.
It may seem an odd thing to celebrate, but anyone who has walked through the doors on the first night will tell you, going to Restored Lives takes some courage. When life is at its worst, any opportunity to celebrate should be grabbed with both hands, but it’s more than a forced smile, this was deep down joy and laughter in the midst of strife.
It’s so remarkable to see how people have physically changed in a short period. Their countenance is noticeably changed. They may not yet feel fully restored, for some every day will still be a battle, but all seem to stand a little taller and seem brighter.
It’s so inspiring to hear what they have to say about the experience too. One lady said that she had been able to lay aside the intense anger that she had felt, another described how she’d rediscovered joy, a Vicar talked about how he was able to talk to his congregation about his divorce without shame and another described having met friends for life at the course, there were so many varied experiences all filled with hope and life.
Those of us who have been fortunate enough to have been involved in the course know that all these stories are true landmarks representing steps towards restoration but wow what a wonderful evening to pause and see again the difference coming alongside people in their hour of need can make.
The next course at Brompton Road, South Kensington, London starts on Monday 28th January 2019, for full details click here https://www.htb.org/restoredlives/.