The most asked question: “What can I do?”
I am working on a message today about being a good neighbor. We’re studying this subject at church throughout the month of March. Love your neighbor as yourself, is of course, the second part of the Great Commandment of God. We all want to love people well, and we’re all trying to grow forward in learning how to love. A thought came to mind while studying and I’m taking a quick break from sermon preparation to write these thoughts.
So many have loved Gail and I so wonderfully throughout her entire cancer treatment process. We are appreciative to the extent that we simply cannot express our feelings. There are truly times when words fall short, at least we think they do. Not!
We’ve been asked hundreds of times, “What can I do to help?” Each time, Gail and I kind of say the same thing, the only thing that is really true. “There is not much that you can DO, but we deeply appreciate you asking. Please pray, and please don’t forget Gail as time marches on in this process.” Really, there is not much anyone can do at this point. Meals are helpful sometimes, but we can only eat so many times, and cooking is therapeutic for me. We are not at the point of needing rides and there are few projects around the house that need more help than I can handle. It is frustrating for those who love us and want to do something, but also for us, knowing there is not much that anyone can do.
So please listen. We don’t need you to do, as much as we need to you BE. Be a friend. Be a prayer partner. Be an encourager. Be a listener. Wear a smile... cry a tear... give a hug... write a card. Just BE. Every encouraging word counts. Every offer of prayer means the world. Every text is precious. Every email is read and saved. Every card lifts the spirits and goes into Gail’s card box. Every hug says, “I love you and care about you.” The ears that simply listen are utterly beautiful. This communal act of being creates an atmosphere of love around us. It’s like wearing your favorite cologne or perfume. Everywhere you go, it is there, giving off a sweet aroma. You can’t see it or touch it or hear it, but the aroma is there. We live and move in the aroma of your love. Your being has created an atmosphere in which we live – the atmosphere of love. It is this atmosphere of love that somehow provides us the strength to keep moving forward no matter what. Thank you.
Oh, that we would create this atmosphere among all the people God brings into our lives. I confess that I’ve fallen far short too many times. I think this is what Jesus was referring to when He told us to love our neighbors as ourselves.
There are times in life when being is more helpful than doing. I would like to thank the thousands of you who are being our friends, when there is simply not much you can do. Presence, in its many forms, helps as much as anything in some situations. When you read this, you are present for us. When you pray, you are present for us. Etc. Thank you for being present.
Honestly, though we know that God is at work all the time in our situation, it doesn’t feel like it. Sometimes, it just doesn’t seem like He is doing much, at least that we can see with our limited view of things. But there is something He does that is just as helpful. He is Present, and His Presence is His greatest gift.