There are times in life where we just need to be. Where we can’t DO anything or SAY anything because neither of those things would help.
Have you ever read the book of Job? In a nutshell, it’s about a man who has it all: family, a good reputation, a good home, respect from the community, health, wealth, and HE LOSES IT ALL!! Everything! His family, his home, his status, his health, his wealth, everything! GONE!
Through his ordeal his friends surround him, but somehow along the way they begin thinking they have all the answers as to why these things are happening to him. Advice galore is given and it actually, in my opinion, causes more destruction than anything Job has already experienced.
Have you ever had a time when you were struggling through something and just needed someone to BE there but instead all you got was a bunch of garbage you didn’t want or need to hear?
When all you longed for was someone to come along beside you, to comfort you, to support you, to simply BE with you and all they wanted to do was say or do something to make it better?
Oh, they mean no harm. Their hearts were in the right place. They wanted to help but what actually ended up happening was their attempts to ‘help,’ made you feel worse.
That can be one of the most frustrating things EVER!
Terrible things happen, things we don’t understand. Things we want to not be happening. Things where all we want is take the pain and make it go away. To say something, anything. To do something, anything. Anything to make it all better.
Unfortunately, there are some things that happen where none of those things are possible. Where our words fall short, and our doing something isn’t enough.
Wait, let me recant that last portion. Sometimes what we CAN do, we don’t, because we are too concerned with what WE think needs to be done.
Sometimes the DO is about what the person we are coming along side of needs.
It’s difficult because we hate to see others in pain.
We say silly things like:
‘Things will get better’
‘Don’t be sad’
‘This is God’s plan’
‘Things will look better tomorrow’
We DO silly things like:
‘step into fix it mode’
‘ramble out a list of things we are going to do for them’
I don’t think so! I know when I’m in the throws of a very difficult situation it doesn’t seem like it’s going to get better, or that God’s plan is working, or that things will look better tomorrow, and WHAT? Don’t be sad? Are you kidding me?
When we go to be with someone who is struggling we forget the times when we just needed someone to BE. Not fix, not throw cliche’s at us, not try to make it all better and we become the very person we thought had lost their minds when we were struggling.
Out of respect I will not go into great detail about a situation our friends are going through; let me just tell you where we were and I imagine you will understand. We spent the day at Hospice.
Now you have some idea as to what our friends are dealing with.
No matter what people say or do, the pain of the situation, any situation that is difficult is not going to be fixed. There is no way to keep someone from the pain they are experiencing.
Yesterday, hubs and I had the opportunity to simply BE. On the way, we actually talked about being aware of what we said and did. We talked about being careful not to use those horrible cliches, not to offer suggestions of what to do but to simply let our friends know we were there and allow them to guide us in what they needed.
So what do we do and say? How do we support without being THAT person who drives us crazy? How do we keep from becoming like Job’s “friends” who had it all figured out?
I don’t know about you, but here’s what I believe are the best ways when someone you love is struggling with something very hard no matter what it may be. Let me just say, I’m not always good at this. I’m a fixer and a helper and I hate seeing others in pain or suffering for any reason and I try to find ways to take away the discomfort.
♥ BE AWARE: We’ve all heard those things people say in difficult situations. They are horrible! They don’t help. Oh they make us feel as if we’re making a difference because our nature as humans is to make it all better. There are times when all we can do is be a silent comfort when others are in need. To simply come along side and nothing more. Be aware of what you say. Sometimes the best advice is the advice we keep to ourselves.
♥ BE CAUTIOUS: In times of difficulty we can tend to forget it isn’t about us. We want so desperately to not feel helpless. To feel as if we are helping in someway, in any way. In our own discomfort of seeing someone in pain or in a difficult situation we can start rattling off nonsense or start making suggestions about how it’s all going to work out. Our own discomfort can lead us to forget why we are there with our hurting friend. Be cautious of how you are feeling and know it’s okay to experience sadness, discouragement, and at a loss as to what to do to help.
♥ BE OPEN: It’s all too easy when we are not the ones in the struggle to think we have an answer as to what will make it better. We could think simple things like a hug or making our friend laugh is going to help. Everyone deals with hard stuff differently and what might make us feel better won’t make a difference for someone else. It’s important to let those in the struggle take the lead. Even if they don’t know what they need right now, it’s a great comfort to know when they do figure it out, you’ll be right there waiting. Be open to allowing them to guide you about what they need.
Life is hard! Every day there are things we go through where we simply need someone to BE there with us, for us. One of the greatest joys about life is knowing we have others who will come along side us so we don’t have to face things alone.
What does being comforted and supported look like for you?