You know what matters? Words. Words matter. You know what else matters? Presence. If you have a person in your life who is hurting, just show up. Use your mouth to make words. Pretty much any words will do- and they will be a blessing.
I remember who visited me in the hospital and at home when I had my babies. I remember who came to my father’s funeral. I remember every time someone has dropped off a gift when I feel discouraged, sent a text at a time when I felt alone… these things matter. We crave to feel known, to feel seen.
There is a huge battle fought every time we have an impulse to show up in someone’s life. When we feel a tug on our hearts to be there for a friend in a time of need, the items on our to-do list seem to start screaming louder. You suddenly notice the kitchen counter is covered in dirty dishes. The washing machine is overflowing. The work deadline looms larger, and you remember a dozen errands you have been putting off. We worry that we are intruding, that the person isn’t up for a visit, that it will feel awkward. But still… isn’t it worth a try?
We hear time and again that time is the most valuable commodity in today’s society. The way we invest that time is significant. It tells us about our values. It gives us clues to our idols. It is a resource we can invest, either in God’s kingdom, or in our own agendas. Investing in relationships is a difficult thing to do, because that time is… squishy. It doesn’t feel like you are doing something with your time when you are spending it with a friend. It gets you no closer to your goals, to feeling in control of your life. Or does it?
Guard against the tyranny of the urgent. The most important things will seldom scream for your attention, they will simply wait for you to discover them. Things like prayer, Scripture study, cultivating friendships, thinking, enjoying art. The loud and demanding are rarely as important as these.”
Investing in people pays dividends over time. We are not built to be alone. We need people in our lives, people to show up when WE need them. Not only that, we need to cultivate the discipline of investing in others. In being hospitable with our time. I am guilty of neglecting this. I frequently let the fear of awkwardness or the pressure of busyness override my urge to reach out. But I am trying to fight it.
Here are my resolutions (for now):
When I am asked to pray for someone really pray for them. And follow up later.
Send that text. Write that letter.
Show up. In hospitals. At sickbeds. When it matters.
When I am with someone… listen. not just talk. Ask questions about them.
Any other suggestions?