Video offers help to overcome life's adversity

Monday, January 10, 2005

There are no guarantees on this earth; stuff happens; tension builds; bad things happen to good people; the world can be too much with us; when one of three ---- the physical body, the spirit, and the soul ---- is out of balance, the entire person is affected.

Most adults recognize such observations as not-so-pleasant facts of life. Optimism, or hope, is seen as the answer to all, but what can you do to get hope back once it is gone? True hopelessness is a lonely place, filled with fear, pain, doubt and despair.

This DVD and accompanying guide are tools that can be used by those who are suffering, as well as family members and others who choose to walk with them. Designed for individual or small group study, it can be used by cancer or bereavement support groups, or by those who want to learn how to support and encourage those who suffer, deepening understanding of the real issues faced by people.

As former pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, Dravecky has first-hand experience with suffering, fear and doubt. At the height of his career, he was diagnosed with a fibroid tumor in his pitching arm, and was told he never would pitch again. But 10 months later in August 1989 he re-emerged onto the diamond to pitch eight innings to lead the team to a victory.

Five days later, playing against Montreal, he pitched a fast ball in the sixth inning, and his arm snapped out of place. The tumor had returned, and suddenly he was facing life as an amputee. What had been his life was over.

Dravecky's story is one of five told on the DVD, primarily dealing with cancers and Lou Gerhig's Disease, with patients ranging from a retired Air Force Colonel to a woman diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma at 17 years old.

The story-tellers reappear with commentary as keys to overcoming hopelessness are explored, including: You are not alone; Know that you are loved; God is with you (faith); and God is your hope.

While some might consider the narratives and accompanying music as being too syrupy, the speakers' honesty is apparent as they discuss their comebacks from adversity.

"It's not an easy journey," Dravecky states. "It's a humbling experience"

The DVD is well-produced, and includes a link to more help on the Web.

The accompanying Discovery Guide breaks down the discussion on the DVD into segments that are easier to absorb and understand. A number of discussion questions are suggested, which could generate sharing much like what Dravecky and his four friends offer.

Journey of Hope: Walking with Hope Through Life's Valleys; DVD Video by Dave Dravecky's Outreach of Hope with Discovery Guide booklet by Amanda Sorenson; 36 minutes on DVD; booklet contains 36 pages with resources; Zondervan.

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