We Give What We Have; Not What Others Need

January 8, 2019

One of the most important truths I have learned in my lifetime is that I can offer others what I have, not all they need. If someone is sad, I can offer to listen, but I can’t take away their sadness. If someone has experienced loss, I can empathize, but I can’t heal them. Sometimes, the best I have to offer is to be present with their sadness or grief, which feels like so little at the time. Whenever I am in the presence of another’s pain, it is hard, yet, I want to offer what I have in hopes of helping.

Years ago I was sitting with a member of a church I was serving; we were in a hospital ER while physicians were attending to her husband, who had just shot himself. I was trying to heal her pain, mainly because I felt so uncomfortable and inadequate in that moment, by spouting off words of wisdom. Later, she informed me that she didn’t remember a word I said, but did remember my presence, which offered a little comfort. I offered her what I had; while she needed a lot more, I was able to offer something.

Never Walk Down the Back Alley of Your Mind Alone

January 8, 2019

Hope is often found when we are open to recognizing our needs and asking for help. Hope is often lost when we are isolated and trying to live our lives cut off from others. One mentor of mine once said, “David, never walk down the back alley of your mind alone.” We all need help sometimes, especially when we face a crisis.

I have often wondered why it is so hard to ask for help; maybe its because I don’t want to look weak or am afraid someone will use my vulnerability against me. In any case, I have learned over the years that when I am at those points where I need help, trustworthy people are more than willing to offer what they have. What I most often needed was simply someone to pay attention to me and what I had to say. There is something soothing about having someone stop what they are doing, make eye contact, and position their body toward me and offer attention. When one of my kids was small and fell and skinned their knee, what they wanted more than Neosporin and a band aid was my warm attention and touch with, “Oh my, that must have hurt; I am right here and not going anywhere.”

When I receive appropriate attention, I calm down and hope rises within.

 

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