Sunday, February 20, 2011

When a friend is hurting~ "Just Say SOMETHING"

"A friend is someone who walks in 
when the rest of the world walks out."

This couple I know went through a hard time when their teenager got into trouble. 
As a result, the teenager suffered some very public consequences.  
This "thing" their teenager did spread through the community like a grass fire fueled by rumors and wrong information.  People were talking about it under their breath at Starbucks, 
in the check-out line at the grocery, 
and at the gas pump.  

I didn't actually know these people well, but my heart ached for them.  
Several times I considered reaching out to them, but I dismissed the impulse
because it felt awkward and uncomfortable.  
 I said to myself, 
"I don't think I've earned the right to speak to them, I don't know them very well."

Soon after that, as I was sitting at the local pharmacy waiting on a prescription, 
the mom of the teenager sat right next to me.   After a few diverted glances, 
I pointed out the "elephant in the room" and asked how things were going.  
It was then that I learned that very few people had reached out to their family, 
and they had suffered great humiliation, loneliness and shame.  

It was fear that kept me from contacting this mom in the first place.  
But when God put her in front of me and gave me the opportunity to tell her just how sorry I was about the whole situation, 
her eyes filled with tears.
What a precious serendipity!

I learned a tough lesson and now I try to follow this rule when it comes to interacting with hurting people: 
Just. Say. Something. 

There truly is an art to saying just the right thing to someone in a time of crisis, 
and that art can can be developed.  

One of my favorite books for developing this skill is:

This book should be on everyone's shelf as a reference.  It covers everything from personal crisis to grief.  
You can see the first pages here.

May I suggest that you buy it before the crisis hits so you'll be ready when it happens~ 
 I discovered that even though I'm scared, awkward and uncomfortable,  its always better when I drum up the courage to say something.


1 comment:

  1. I just ordered the book, thank you for the suggestion.