Updated on October 23, 2015
Updated on October 23, 2015
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.
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.