CHAPTER 5 – THE SICK AT HEART – What To Say or Do When You Don’t Know What to Say Or Do
Do you rejoice with those who rejoice or weep with those who weep? I know I do. I think sometimes in this modern society of ours we want to keep up with the neighbors. We can be envious of what others have. I can honestly say that, for me personally, God has stripped all that. I don’t have to have the best shoes, the best purses, the best clothes, house, or car. I have learned that to be the best that I can be that can only be obtained by spending time in His Word and learning to be more like Him.
Jesus shared in others sorrow. He weeped with those who weeped. Karen shared how a german lady at church had often said to her, “A sorrow shared is but half a trouble, but joy that’s shared is a joy made double.” My husband quotes something similar out of the Bible that I love.
My husband uses a similar phrase in weddings. He says something like, “When a joy is shared it is doubled, but when a sorrow is shared it is halved.” I see how true that is in life just watching our grandchildren together and all the joy, and when we lose a family member or friend how that sorrow is halved comforting each other.
Karen shared how it is sometimes hard to know what to say or do so she had reached out to blog readers to share what had helped them. Here are a few:
- Miscarriage – Good friends called and took them out to dinner. It was the last thing they wanted to do, but they were picked up by their friends and when they laughed the friends laughed, when they cried the friends gently and lovingly held the and cried with them.
- Grief – A friend shared Bible verses.
I went to a memorial last week and heard several times words that Karen reminded us not to say and that is, “If there is anything I can do, please let me know.” A reader named Aimee wrote that during difficult times the last thing we have energy for is figuring out what we need. Ever been there? Sometimes we just feel helpless and we do not know what we need at that moment. Karen says to “show up, take over a task, and allow the person to concentrate on what they need to.”
Just show up. Do whatever. I remember the night a nephew died. We went. My husband and I got in the kitchen and just washed dishes at my sister-in-laws house. When my Mom would be in the hospital or after long days at work and then visits to the nursing home I would come home and my husband would have dinner fixed and waiting for me, and usually he had washed a load of clothes. I remember driving one of my sisters to her first cancer treatment. She didn’t need me to. She said she was okay, but something inside me urged me to go and be with her.
Karen reminds us of a good friend, Tammy who says during different stages of grief and loss she didn’t need friends to throw out Bible verses, but rather friends who stopped by with compassion and grace with coffee or food or who sent a text message or card. She even had friends who stopped by and decorated her Christmas tree. Can you remember a time you didn’t want to decorate a tree? I sure can, and how so very hard it was to make myself do it.
One other thing shared in this book was that sometimes we do not need to say anything at all, but just sit there and listen.
One scenario Karen shares that could so be me, and where I find myself sometimes thinking about ME. “You would love nothing more this weekend than a quiet Saturday morning all to yourself. But you know that a friend across town is living with the fallout of a recent divorce – and for her, the Saturday morning quiet is deafening. Could you kidnap her for the morning, take her out for coffee and a muffin and engage in some heartfelt conversation? It will not only encourage her, but you will be blessed as well.” OUCH! Not just a recently divorced, but how about someone who has recently lost a loved one?
Here are some things I’ve done recently:
- Cooked a meal for Mom’s with a new baby.
- Babysit while a new Mommy took a nap.
- Picked up at toddler at Mother’s Day Out for that Mom didn’t have to load up her new babies.
- Mowed the yard for a neighbor who was in the hospital.
- Took a meal to a grieving family.
- Sent a card to our pastor’s wife with a little money for coffee, and invited her to coffee.
- Painted an older ladies fingernails and toenails.
- Kept children for couples could have date nights (mainly our son and daughter), but do you know someone locally or in your church who does not have family here. Perhaps they need a night out.
- Offered to do laundry for someone with a new baby
- Picked up groceries for a neighbor while I was grocery shopping and I knew they could not get out.
- Visited a friend who lost his wife. My hubby and I walk down and just sit on the porch with him and visit. Several times I’ve baked a favorite casserole or dessert and took it over and we invited him and his daughter over for a New Year’s meal and recently homemade ice cream.
Here are some great ideas Karen shared to use when we interact with the sick at heart:
- Give them space
- Remember their loved one out loud
- Invite them along
- Etch important dates on your calendar. Make plans to reach out during the holidays and other special dates.
- Frame a favorite picture or put it on a Christmas ornament.
Show up, look for something to do, and do whatever you can. Do what matters TODAY!
I’m joining Kate Matoung and the “FMF girls today and the word is visit. Love how it goes along with this study.