Monday, April 08, 2013

What do you say?

We all face tragedy at some point in our lives.  We lose people we love - sometimes grandparents, parents, or even children.  We hear devastating news - illness, injury, test results we were not expecting that will change our lives forever.  We go through periods of depression.  Sometimes for a reason and sometimes for no reason at all.  Relationships end or become difficult.  Stress becomes the most prominent factor in our lives.  We are not sure we can move forward at all.  What happens when we are going through these times?  Usually, well-meaning friends and family members try to say or do something to "make it better."  I remember when I was going through my divorce, surely one of the most difficult things a person can go through in life, people said all kinds of things.  The most important things people said to me were the quiet "I'm here if you need me," statements.  Someone reaching for my hand, but not imposing too much on my grief.  Someone understanding that I would come to them and tell them what I needed, when I needed it, as long as they opened the door.  That is what I appreciated.  And that is always how I've responded to people who were going through difficult situations in life.

But is that the true way to respond?  I've watched several friends go through unimaginable difficulties in the last few years.  I've seen suffering and great strength.  And I've done for them what people did for me when I most needed someone.  But is that enough?  I've been questioning that a lot lately.  Should I have forced myself on them and done things they didn't ask me to do?  I've always been a "call before you visit" kind of person.  Adhering to etiquette is important to me.   But is it true that if someone needs your help and you've left the door open, that they will, in fact, let you know if they need something?  Or is it better to just do something for someone, whether you know they need it or not?

It's something I've been struggling about lately.  I see no clear answers to this one.  And that drives me more than a little bit crazy.

For now, all I can do is what I've been doing - offer myself for whatever anyone needs.  I'm here if you need me.

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