I knew a woman whose mother committed suicide. As she packed up her deceased mother’s belongings, a friend came to assist her. The friend never said a word because in that moment, her presence and help said everything.
I try to follow her example whenever someone is grieving or distressed. But alas, in my desperation to make that person feel better and know that I care, I probably say too much or the wrong thing particularly if I haven’t walked in their shoes.
Have you noticed? Life is Slippery when Wet.
And folks saying “every cloud has a silver lining” or “look on the bright side” doesn’t make me feel dry or safe when I’m in the midst of a thunderstorm.
In fact, when I’m hurting…emotionally or physically…my first inclination isn’t to look for the greater good even though I believe Romans 8:28-30 to be true.
Some of those slippery paths have included:
· Three miscarriages
· A husband deployed during Desert Storm
· A newborn son hospitalized
· Family members with chronic health problems.
In hindsight, the intensity and duration of each storm strengthened my relationship with the Lord. They also enabled me to empathize and encourage others.
Even so, I can’t presume to know how others feel.
I’m no longer in that place and depending on where I stand, my perspective changes.
For when I’m standing at a cross road~~fearful of the unknown, worried I’ll make the wrong decision~~the last thing I want to hear is, “Don’t worry. Everything will be alright!”
Walking across a wooden bridge, slick from rain, is more daunting than standing beside the bridge with both feet on the ground. So I don’t want someone shouting from a safe distance, “Things could be worse. Don’t be afraid!”
A young woman whose military husband was deployed overseas told me, “People say they’re praying for me. They quote Bible verses. I know they mean well and I’m thankful. But telling me to think positive, doesn’t help. My situation stinks! Acknowledge my pain. Don’t be afraid to let me cry.”
Her words hit home because I’ve been there…..slip sliding through life. And frankly, there’s nothing like a good cry to release the pain.
James 1:19 says, “Be quick to hear, slow to speak…”
Slow to speak shallow, trite, or patronizing words when someone else is hurting.
How do you want people to respond when you’re in pain?
What has helped you in the difficult times?