I Get By With a Little Help From my Friends
I’m here if you need me.
Let me know if you need anything.
I’m just a phone call away.
What do these statements mean to you? Death of a loved one, depression, a breakup, job loss, and other hard circumstances impact not only the heart that feels it the most but it also impacts our friends, family, and community.
When you are the one walking through the valley, it can be lonely. You want people to be there, but you sometimes don’t know how to let them in. If you’re the one watching your loved one walk through the valley, maybe you just don’t know what to do or say but you know you want to say or do something. A phone call, meal train, financial donation, and bright flowers are some ways I try to show up for my people and how I appreciate my people showing up for me. However, what about those no one knows what to ask for or to say times? How do we show up for our people when they need us the most?
Show up and stay. In my darkest season where I was navigating depression, what mattered most to me was when I’m here if you need me became I’m here lean on me. I heard a great analogy of the difference between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy (feelings of pity for someone’s misfortune) is you standing at the top of the pit someone has fallen into and maybe sitting at the top until help arrives. Empathy (the ability to share the feelings of another) is being willing to climb into the pit and wait with the fallen for help to arrive. The people who were willing to be inconvenienced and get in the pit with me, while most times offering no advice at all, will forever be the silver lining in that chapter of my story. The story of Ruth is a shining example of this when Naomi urged her to leave in the season that turned her bitter. Instead, Ruth replied,
”Don’t plead with me to abandon
you or to return and not follow you.
For wherever you go, I will go,
and wherever you live, I will live;
your people will be my people,
and your God will be my God.
Where you die, I will die,
and there I will be buried.
May the Lord punish me,
and do so severely,
if anything but death separates you
and me” (Ruth 1:16-17 CSB).
I admit I might not be as ride or die as Ruth because I have too many questions, but can we stop doing life with people based on what they can do for us and simply commit to being the one that stays when their story turns dark and see them through as best as we can?
Find a way. In the Gospels, there is an account of some men that carried a paralyzed man on a stretcher to meet with Jesus as He was teaching. The crowd was too thick for them to maneuver their way in the front door, so they climbed to the roof and “lowered him on the stretcher through the roof tiles into the middle of the crowd before Jesus” (Luke 5:19b CSB). When it’s time to move on behalf of your loved one, you will know. My brother drove three and a half hours without hesitation and stayed two days calling counselors and outpatient facilities to secure my appointment to continue therapy during the darkest days. My friend Melissa sent me voice notes every day praying over me when I couldn’t pray for myself. Homes were opened up for me to stay in guest rooms, and I remember waking up to hearing prayers outside the door as I slept. I believe it was because of their faith, along with a few others, that I was able to walk into the healing found in Jesus.
All you can do is pray. If all you can do is pray, then it’s best to do all that you can do. I know it can hard to watch someone you love walk through a hard time, but we aren’t always called to intervene with what the Lord has ordained or is allowing to happen in their life. The Bible doesn’t always promise a way of escape from trial. It promises us endurance. Jesus told Peter this when He said, “Simon, Simon, look out. Satan has asked to sift you like wheat, But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:31-32a CSB). Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have in our arsenal to care for our people. Prayer protects our loved ones when nothing else can help. Prayer leaves room for God to give you direction on what to say or do. Praying that their faith will be strengthened is powerful. Praying for revelation is powerful. Prayer.is.powerful. Be it distance or even your loved one not accepting your outstretched hand, your prayers will fill in the gap and usher in a grace that will meet their pain to carry them through the fire.
Wherever you find yourself in community, family, your coworkers, etc., can we be a people that commit to doing what we can, if we can, and when we can to help the people that God has placed in our life to get by?
But wait: Maybe you’re like me, and you need some practical tips to help you walk out this thang. I got you covered.