When the rest of the world…
Updated: Jul 20
There are times in each of our lives when we experience such a sadness, loss or loneliness that we are left without words. Or perhaps without tears. And sleep. And faith. And through many of those experiences, we often have a heartfelt blanket of support, comfort and warm embraces, wrapped tightly around us. But as the days, the weeks and the months slowly fade away, so too do those same consoling limbs, notes of encouragement, reassuring phone calls and unexpected hot meals. And there we are, feeling completely alone. Left to fight through a battle, big or tiny, on our own.
I’ve seen it happen so. many. times. A family death. Loss of a job. A miscarriage. A bout with depression. An accident. A plain-and-simple unexpected turn from life’s planned path. And I’ve watched the support pour in. And I’ve always tried to be part of the reassuring, in whatever way that I can. But to me, what is even more important, is not just to be part of the initial encouragement, but also to be the one who sticks around. Who, days, weeks or months later, let’s others know, “I’m still here for you. I’m still thinking about you and praying for you. I know you are still in the midst of it all. And you are not alone.” When the rest of the world moves on.
You see, friends, I have been in that position. Several times in my life. When I w.i.s.h.e.d. someone would have reached out to me. After the fact. Long following the influx of phone calls, messages and soothing hugs.
The occurrence that stands in my mind the most was one of the hardest experiences of my life…38.5 weeks pregnant with Baby Nugget…Miss O and Monkey in the wonderful care of my parents for merely minutes piled by a few dozen…so I could head out to what I thought would be my final OB check-up before the big arrival…when at 9:40 in the morning, I received the scariest phone call of my life…that my a.m.a.z.i.n.g. father, the hands-down best grandpa in the world…had been shot…while walking my parents’ dog…by complete strangers…who less than a few hours prior took an innocent man’s life in his own driveway…and our sweet, precious girls were witness to the entire aftermath…talking about shocking. And Baby Nugget, thank the Good Lord Above, kept her spirited little self inside this momma’s belly for four more days. And even more thanks to our magnificent Savior for placing around my dad a band of only the best guardian angels, arms wrapped around him tightly, protecting him from further harm than he experienced. Bringing a new baby into the world, in the same week of having your world completely rocked, was definitely an unexpected turn from life’s plans.
And I can never express enough how much the messages, phone calls and meals that poured in meant to me during that week. But what I really needed…more than anything…was someone(s) to step in through the weeks and months following. Because those were by far the hardest for me. And besides the few who reached back out with extra words of encouragement and notes just to “check in”, there were several very lonely moments, when I felt left by myself with the dozens of “what-if’s” and uneasy thoughts.
We all need support. No matter how stubborn, independent and self-reliant we are, we all need others around us. God has intertwined us in such a way that being c.o.m.p.l.e.t.e.l.y. left alone is almost impossible. (Although some may try very hard to be left that way.) We are made to be his messengers. His pawns. His angels here on Earth. But, He can’t do it for us. Nope. We must do the work. We must keep our eyes open. Open to e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. around us, looking out for those around us we hold most dear. In our families. Within our circles of friends. Amidst our closest coworkers. Even an acquaintance can use a word of inspiration during troubled times.
And your kindness doesn’t have to become a big production. It can be as simple as a text message. A bag of candy. A handwritten note. An email. A card in the mail. Believe me; I know firsthand how much these little things can warm you up inside. And I thank God each day that He has chosen to bless me with an innate sense of empathy. Intuition. To be able to see within others hurt and the need for kindheartedness at a most fragile moment.
So, sweet friends, try not to close your eyes. Even if distance has grown between you and another, reopen your eyes, as wide as possible…and if you see a need to reach out, use both arms and hold on tightly. You may never know what an uplifting difference you can make, until you try