How about this? How about when someone is before us, a real, live person, suffering, we be a person?
Don’t be a defender of an institution. Don’t be an office. Don’t be a title. Don’t be a minimizer, a gloss-over-er, a down-player. Don’t be an oracle or an activist. Don’t be a self-help manual or an encyclopaedia or a concordance or a few tactical probing questions to steer the conversation. Don’t be the fault-finder. Don’t be God works all things for good. And don’t be pray harder, or more faith-ier. Don’t be the voice of their worst fears and accusations. Don’t be the shame-er.
Instead, when we are privileged to be present as someone’s heart is breaking open with pain and longing and doubt and questions and terror and loss and grief and love and hope and fear, before our very eyes, as they are in the midst of wrestling with God and it’s tangible and not fixed by seven-steps-to-a-better-life-and-whiter-teeth, how about this?
How about we be human right alongside of them?
How about we hold them? How about we say that it sucks, and it’s not fair? How about we say we’re sorry, admit we don’t really understand? How about we become comfortable with silence? How about we become the one that can listen without judgement, the one that can take it without being shocked and affronted and offended by honesty? How about we say we love them? How about we say that we’re here and then we prove it? How about we learn how to hold hands, to hug, to sit beside, to write hand written letters, to bring meals, to baby sit, to do laundry, to make phone calls, to meet for coffee, to pray and pray and pray in secret? There is plenty of time for talking it through, figuring it out together, seeking solutions, there is probably even time for fixing it.
But in that moment, when they are feeling their humanity so acutely, surround them with the grace of being seen, being heard, and simply being loved.
How about we simply fall in step, alongside, and we walk each other home in that moment?