Live long enough, and life is going to hurt.
I have, and it does. However, others have encountered far darker days than my experiences.
Seeing this misery silences the complaining tongue that compares with others. It is easy to be jealous of those with the fancy houses and exotic vacations. But, if we play the treacherous game of comparison, it is appropriate to compare to those that are at the other end of the spectrum. This calibration is painful and necessary to straighten my perspective.
Auto accidents, natural disasters, illness, and self-inflicted events, bring our friends to their knees with sorrow and uncertainty. Daily, families have ripped apart; businesses fail and employees apply for unemployment. In an instant, the details become viral through news and social media. This lightning pace provides little time to mourn and come to terms with the new normal.
How do you come alongside those undergoing a trial? What is your engagement track record? Do you approach to help support, give space for fear of saying something wrong, or disappear?
I have a growing friendship with a guy that went through a lengthy legal trial. We share many common friends, and I was aware of the events as the trial progressed. I had my opportunity to press in and show support, but I elected the disappearing option. I would like to explain away my response, but the truth hurts, and I did not approach.
Hearing the complex details was intense and I can't imagine trading places. He recounted the difference it made when someone would engage in conversation, crack jokes, bring over a meal, or pat him on the shoulder and let him know someone cared. During our discussion, I learned a practical question; "how are you doing right now?" Any other timeframe can be overwhelming because things change so quickly.
Today's fractured society means we can be oblivious to our neighbor across the hall, yet track the details of a friend half a world away. Expressing care takes many forms and includes sitting silently together. I am learning to pay attention to those in my backyard and learning how they are doing today.
How do you care for those experiencing a personal storm? What is your default support mode? What is a specific example you remember and how was your support received?