Everyday I hear of people in pain: people with money issues, people struggling with relationships, people suffering from serious long-term health problems, people who just can’t seem to catch a break.
One of these people said to me “it is all I can do at the moment to put one foot in front of the other”. And it breaks my heart.
Because I want to be able to fix it, I want to reach out and magically take away the pain, and the heartache, because these are people I love. But there is no quick fix for these situations. There is no nice easy Band-Aid cure.
These situations require a higher commitment from me. They require me to sit by my friend through the hard times, they require me to listen to their angry questions and not give pat answers. They require me to say, “that sucks, I’m here, I’ll listen, I’ll do what I can (which is not much) and I will walk through this pain with you”.
This is the hard stuff of friendship, the hard stuff of community. But I have had people do this for me. People who called or texted daily just to see how I was; people who sent little cards or gifts to brighten my day; people who dealt with my anger and overwhelming emotion by saying nothing; people who would sit beside me as I cried, or know just how long to hug me, before I would lose it; people who prayed over me and for me when it was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other.
We often think of strength as being brash and bold and loud and aggressive. But sometimes strength is actually incredibly quiet and unbelievably gentle. Sometimes strength is just being present. A person who is not trying to fix things but is willing to be a silent, tangible presence, with someone who is hurting, that person to me shows real strength.