Sunday, May 2, 2010

What do you say?

This is the question that rolls around in my head when presented with difficult situations. Someone dies unexpectedly, a tragedy occurs, someone loses their job, their home. What do you say?

I want to be able to say something that is like a small touch of ointment on dry skin. Something that soothes and comforts. But I don't know those words.

Afraid that what I might say will just be trite or cliche.
Those things help no one.

I know sometimes that words really don't matter. Just presence is enough. But what do you do when the hurting person isn't right there. You can only 'spend time' virtually. Then what do you say?

And even when you are there with the person, what do you say?

Words should heal. Should help. Should make things better.

But what are those words?

When we went and see Rob Bell do a presentation about pain and art. Part of the night was having everyone write 'I know how you feel' on a card. Different scenarios where given such as being touched by cancer, losing a job, and they went on and on, and with each one we were to stand if we were effected by this thing and then pass our cards to someone else who was also standing. This was very powerful because by the end of the night I was left with a card that said 'I know how you feel' and I don't know who that person was but I know that somewhere out there, there is someone who knows how I feel, right now. This card sits on my desk and I refer to this often. This is great when you actually do know how someone feels. But what about when you don't? You just know that a person is in pain.

And there seems to be a lot of pain going around right now.

A young woman goes through surgery just find, goes to stand up and a blood clot takes her life on the spot.

A small baby goes to sleep for a nap, and never wakes.

A mother is lost.

A child dies.

A wife is gone.

A life was never really experienced.

And what do you say?

If you know these soothing words, please share.

The world could use them.



Kar said...

WOW!!! this is an incredibly powerful post...and I have no idea what the answer to that question is.

All I know is I can be a pretty lousy friend when someone I love and care about is in pain because I am too afraid of not knowing what to say, or even worse, saying the wrong thing.

I am pretty sure this will keep me thinking for days.

Mark Kaske said...

I think is one of the things that I struggle with the most. I don't know what to say and so I fade back into the woodwork and don't say anything.

Jen C. said...

Hey Mark, I'm getting brave and commenting!
I totally relate. I can deeply ponder all aspects of someone's "bad" situation so much that it consumes me and then from my silence no one would ever know that I even thought twice about it. I'd much rather be the encourager.

I have seen several plugs for the new book "Plan B" - sounds like it might help everyone, no matter which side of the pain they are on. I read several pages online and looks like a worthwhile read.

I just read this review today: