I’ve been a bit quiet around here lately in the personal department. We are doing well as a family and just praying for the next step. I have about 40 personal posts in draft form (including this one) that I have waited to finish writing. I haven’t been in the mood to open up again. I needed time. Many people have reached out as I publicly announced our pregnancy and lost the baby days later. I began my mourning process online with all of you. I felt like that’s what God wanted and it
was is a scary place to be. Through this I learned a lot about compassion.
Compassion: a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. ~ dictionary.com
We can’t understand what to say to someone who is mourning or going through a difficult situation unless we’ve been through it. Well, that phrase is a bit off because we are different and no one has been through the exact same thing or feels the same way. Let me say that again,
We are all different.
If your friend is going through a difficult time,
try not to compare or say it happens all of the time,
& DO something.
This is far from an exhaustive list or the only ways to approach friends in hard times, more than anything I want to encourage you to pray for wisdom in each unique situation.
The one thing I could say is to not avoid a friend in pain. Don’t pretend like it never happened. What are some words you could use to bring comfort? Maybe it’s not even words. Maybe it’s more than that. Find the right moment and the right way (depending on your relationship) to drop a note, send flowers, a meaningful gift, a Facebook message, or a voicemail.
A friendly smile or just a normal conversation having nothing to do with the pain may be just the thing they are craving. Ask the spouse or someone close what you could do.
Be careful approaching them in person. For me I had (and still have) a hard time not crying if someone asks me about my last month. Make sure you’re not in public, and look for cues when to stop talking. My husband has gladly been the buffer for me and protected me from public tears by telling people not to ask at the moment. If your friend doesn’t open up to you over coffee, don’t push & don’t be offended.
Bible verses are nice, but it’s also difficult when you turn around there’s another person quoting verses at you. I’m not telling you to avoid them, just be sure that you pray about it. Think about whether you’re trying to truly bring comfort or be “the one with the perfect words.”
My favorite way to be a friend in a difficult situation is to pray. I don’t know the words, but God does. I pray in the quiet of my day. When I’m struggling I appreciate and know the power of prayer. I covet them.
Share any of these things knowing you may not get a response. Remember, don’t be offended. It may be just too tough to answer, but words if truly coming from the heart are appreciated and often treasured.
I’m just getting out of my cloud of avoidance and only choosing to talk to a few people. My way of dealing with it is journaling on my computer and praying. Another person may want to talk for hours or need professional counseling. Our creative God has made us unique and that includes the ways we struggle….& that makes it it difficult for the rest of us to know how to show compassion.
I am thankful to all of you who have shown true compassion. I’ll never know why this happened but I am praying to allow God to make something beautiful out of the pain and that’s why I’m writing here.
What do you think? Is there a right or wrong way to comfort someone? Any advice or wisdom for all of us?
An update on my Mom’s cancer journey – she has been declared cancer free after her chemo treatments. Her last scheduled surgery was Friday and she’s recovering well at home. She is grateful for all of your prayers and notes of encouragement!