Friday, March 09, 2012

coming to blows

I feel the need to apologize for my authenticity fading betimes in this corner.  Sometimes I am distracted by trials and sadnesses that I can't share.  Sometimes a few, sometimes a lot.  Lately it feels like a lot.  There's just a lot of people whom I love savagely that are going through things that I wish they didn't have to.

It's funny how sad you can get about things you can't control.

I've been assured that one of the most helpful things I can do is to keep my own little family and domain as orderly and positive and healthy as possible.  An assignment which I take seriously.  But keeping the melancholy outside our home from seeping into everything inside our home sometimes takes some doing.

And so - while I'm being ambivalent - here's a vague and obvious list of things that you and I can do for those we're praying for.  I find that doing something - even though your "something" seems small, helps both the giver and the receiver feel less helpless in the face of shrapnel.

1. Send a text, and email, or a handwritten note letting them know you're thinking of them.  You don't have to know the right thing to say beyond that.

bouquet - Steiner's floral class

2. Deliver flowers.  They don't have to be spectacular.  Or even purchased (if you're lucky and it's May or June).  It's the kind of gesture that get's lost in the shuffle of utilitarianism.  But I firmly believe in the power of flowers.  Especially gifted ones.

3. Identify an unmet need, even a small or peripheral one, and fill it with as little fuss as possible.  Show up and announce you're there to cook/clean/help with homework/play with kids/kidnap kids for a spell/file taxes/fix a computer/create a tutorial for using the TV remote/whatever.

4. Reach out to other people who are likely similarly worrying and praying, and organize a larger-scale show of support.  Plan an event or collect stories, photos, kind notes, or money.

5. Do some legwork for them.  Research their situation and help them find resources or options.  Help save them some time in educating themselves.  Don't send them this information faster than they can process it.

6. Show up for a visit and try to spend most of it listening.

7. Don't wait to be asked to help.  Most people hate and fear the asking.  Insist that they give you something to do, and then carry it out in a manner that assures them that it was not a burden or a duty to help them, but something you were honored to do.

8. Do not restrain yourself from showing emotion.  Mourning with those that mourn is an emotional thing.  Tears and long, silent hugs can be valuable.

9. Do not risk avoiding them because you are uncomfortable with the sadness of their situation.   It is far better to have an awkward moment of support than a silence and a void.

10. Pray for them, a separate, specific prayer for them, often.  There is tremendous strength in being prayed for.


Ashley said...

Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas Em. It really is in the little things. During one of families hardest times, a sweet neighbor brought over a simple orange jello salad. My family loved it so much. So everyday for like the next week she made it for us. It is still to this day probably one of my families favorite dishes. It's very conforting to us all and reminds us of this sweet neighbors service.

wjh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wjh said...

This is beautiful Emily. Thank you! And thank you for living these principles so generously. Love you! -Mom-, the way of the hummingbird said...

you always put thoughts into words so effortlessly ... and everyone touched by your kindness leaves feeling special and loved.
my grandfather passed just last week and of course i could not be there to see him off. i did what i could from far aways, but all seems so insignificant ... prayer has been my most helpful consolation.
oh how much i miss you!

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