Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Gift of Being There~

Life isn't always sunshine and roses, peaches and cream, or joy and laughter. Sometimes, life is hard. And, it hurts - all the way down to the deepest place in our heart.

I'll never forget the Ziggy cartoon card a friend sent to me when I was away at college (years and years ago!) Remember, Ziggy? On the cover was a picture of Ziggy and two words: "There, There". The inside simply read: Feel better? Sometimes, all we need is just a little there, there.

Her name was Dorothy. I became friends with Dorothy when her husband of 69 years passed away. She attended our church and I knew who she was, but it wasn't until that summer day, standing at the graveside, watching this dear lady mourn, that I really got to know her. As I helped the preacher escort her to the car waiting to drive her back to her home, I couldn't help but overhear their conversation.

"You'll be OK, Dorothy. It will just take some time."

"But Pastor, you don't understand. We've been together for 69 years. I went from my mother's house to my husband's house. I've never, ever spent a night alone. I was always afraid of the dark and I made my husband promise me he would never leave me alone at night. For all of our 69 years of marriage, he never did."

"It'll be OK, Dorothy. God is with you. And we are here for you, too"

We were at the car now. As he opened the door and she stepped in, I saw her wiping away the tears that flowed steadily down her cheeks. And, I knew. As much as our pastor "intended" to be there for Dorothy, his schedule wouldn't allow him much time with her. I was a teacher out on summer break. I knew God was calling me to be the one there for this broken-hearted lady.

I knocked on her door early the next morning. She was surprised to see me, I could tell, but happy I was there. I had no idea what I would say to her, or what I should do to ease her pain, but I knew God had sent me to her, so I was there.

Each day.

All day long.

All summer long.

Sometimes she re-lived happy moments from the past. And, sometimes, she just sat and said nothing. And I sat right beside, not saying a word either. Sometimes, she told of struggle and heartache. And sometimes, when the room was silent, I would simply walk over to her, rub her back, and then take my seat again on the other side of the room. Together, we learned the ways of sorrow and we both discovered the comfort of a simple....there, there.

Being there, that is.

So often when those around us are hurting we try to cheer them up. We put on our biggest smile and hand them a bouquet of balloons and strike up the band. And, while our intentions are good, they may only add to the sting of hurt.

Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart
is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather
or pouring vinegar in a wound.

 ~ Proverbs 25:10, NLT

Sometimes, we all need a little "there, there".

A simple acknowledgment of our hurt.

A hug or a touch that says what words sometimes can't...

{Photo Credit}
"I'm here.

I'm sorry.

I hurt with you."

To know someone else shares in our sorrow,

is aware of our hurt,

is touched by what has touched us -

this is where healing is found.

This is where a heavy heart finds comfort and peace.

This is what God has called us to do -

to be there.~

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