Love Never Fails : When you don’t know what to say, do this

90% of helping is just showing up.

That’s the title of a book I read while I was in Seminary taking a class called, Grief, Loss, Death and Dying. How’s that for an uplifting four credits toward my degree?!

Among the myriad of topics we discussed, which included an assignment on writing our OWN funeral service, what I took away from the class was the simple act of being present with someone who is in pain.

I don’t know about you, but I often struggle to come up with words to say to someone who is hurting. Almost daily, I see someone reaching out on Facebook with sad news of an illness or death of a loved one. Trite words like, “I’m praying for you,” seem almost insincere, insignificant, meaningless. I don’t say or write them in an insincere way, it’s just that I struggle to come up with words that say something more… something that will soothe their pain.

But maybe that’s not what we’re meant to do. Maybe all we’re meant to say is,

I see you. I hear you. I don’t know how to help you, but I’m here.

Because in the end, it isn’t all about me and my need to fix them, it’s all about them and their need to know that there is an ocean of love and support saying, “We’re here for you.”

Emily P. Freeman, in her book Simply Tuesday said that we need a journeyer, not a fixer. And you know what? None of us can take away the pain of walking a loved one through illness or death. We can’t make it better or hurt less. We can only be there, silent perhaps, in the thick of dread and sadness and deep longing. So why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to fix them or to say the right thing that will take away the ache?

It’s about them, not about us.

If we get ourselves out of the way, and stop trying to say the perfect comforting words or quote the right scripture that will somehow alleviate the deep grief of loss, we might find that the best way we can help is by just showing up.

If 90% of helping is just showing up, then maybe the other 10% is found in a hot meal left on a doorstep, a thoughtful note, an invitation to coffee, space to allow others to grieve without having to fix their hurting hearts.

I’m trying to remember that this week as I struggle for words to soothe the ache my friends are feeling. I’m remembering that my assignment is to be there and to love and just show up, whatever that may look like, because in the end all of these things will fade away, but

Love Never Fails.

Love Never Fails

This is the 24th post in my series Love Never Fails for the Write 31 Days blogging challenge. You can click here to go to my introduction page and find links to all the posts in the series. Also, if you’d like to receive these posts directly in your inbox, just enter your email address in the bar to the right. I promise to never share your information.

13 Comments on “Love Never Fails : When you don’t know what to say, do this

  1. Great post. That is a difficult one. I love encouragement and prayers…….. I like it most when someone acknowledges my pain by just saying…..”That sucks big time”. Keepin’ it real. 🙂 🙂

  2. So true and touching. I am also sometimes at a loss for words of how to help a friend when he/she is facing grief or troubled times. I remember the old cliche, but it is very appropriate for times such as these: Actions speak louder than our words could ever speak. Of course I worded it a little. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Yes! So good. So often what we need is not answers or insights, but presence. Our community this past week is grieving the loss of a high school senior and we have a church and a high school full of deep loss. Grateful for the reminder to not hide, but show up and be there.

  4. Your words are so true. Just being present for another person or letting them know you care means so much. Thank you for these words tonight.

  5. People need a sojourner not a fixer. I like that. So true. —On a different note, are you related to Mike and Lisa Bodine?

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