Thursday, March 14, 2013
Hurting People Often Just Need a Friend
I wonder how many hurting people all around us just need a friend to play with, someone to listen, to just be there, pray with them or share their hurt for a while.
My hunch is that those people are everywhere . . . in the coffee shop, at work, school, in the seat nearby us at church and in our neighborhood. Of course, we can't be there for all of them but maybe we can hone in or be available for just one. And maybe we don't even become their friend but just act like one for a short time.
In an ideal world, that person would be someone whose journey is similar to one you've made. You've had the cancer, the divorce, the struggling child or the three kids under three. You can't solve their problem or make it go away but you can tell them that there is hope up the trail because you've been there. You can be proof positive that someone can actually make it down the difficult road they are walking.
But we can also help and come alongside someone without having travelled their road. Sometimes we start the process best by just listening, engaging for a moment before rushing away to our next responsibility. Other times God might prompt you to think about someone you've not even thought about for some time. You'll need some margin in your life.
It really doesn't matter how you enter in to being the friend of a hurting person. The point is that you just do it. But you'll have to slow down some and be more aware. You will have to put yourself in places where that kind of connection can actually take place. You will have to change your thinking some about what things are most important in life.
But my sense is that once you do it a few times, you'll wonder why you've waited so long. In fact, you might just discover that those interludes are the kinds of moments you've been waiting for and that you've never felt more alive.