Thursday, August 9, 2012

Love Them Well ~ Give Them Space

You know when I most want to connect with a friend or family member ~ besides all the time ~ it’s when they are hurting. Many of my closest friendships have been forged through pain.

Yet, when someone is hurting, that is often the time they hide from connecting. Perhaps, their circumstance embarrasses them—life shouldn’t be this way; sometimes they need time to process alone; or they might be an introvert who suddenly has come into the spotlight—a very uncomfortable place for them. Whatever the reason, connecting is not high on their desire list.

Connecting is different from serving. Serving is doing on their behalf; serving can happen without connecting. I can leave a casserole in the cooler on the front porch and never see those who will be enjoying it later that evening. Serving starts with the mind.

I need to serve and I want to serve. I also want to connect. Connecting understands—at least to a degree; connecting is giving a hug and letting the tears flow; connecting doesn’t need words or service; connecting is the gift of being with, allowing what is to be what is. Connecting starts with the heart.

I remember Mary and Martha—that familiar incident recorded in Luke 10. Martha wanted to serve Jesus; Mary wanted to connect with Jesus. Job’s friends when they first arrived sat with Job for a full week without saying a word! Job 2:11-13.

Several years ago, five couples gathered in our living room. As we shared what was happening in our families, one of the husbands started to weep as he spoke of his prodigal son. The rest of us came close; we laid hands on him and prayed for him, his wife, and their son. We drew near and connected on a heart level. Sometimes connecting and nearness are one and the same. Not always.

Recently I was pondering my desire to connect and turned in my Bible to Hebrews 10. I was reminded of three great truths; three invitations I am offered because God is near:
  1. I am invited to draw near to Him.
  2. I am invited to hold fast to the hope He offers.
  3. I am invited to consider how to encourage others. 
Hmmm, connecting doesn’t even require that I’m physically in the same state as my friend. Perhaps that is a good thing—an opportunity to love them well and give them space.

“…weep with those who weep.”
Romans 12:15

1 comment:

  1. "connecting doesn’t even require that I’m physically in the same state as my friend" Your blog is proof of this! :0)

    Thanks again for sharing and encouraging my heart - it was a word aptly spoken. I've been trying to love well a neighbor who recently had surgery and almost died. She hasn't wanted to connect but has been thankful for me walking her dogs - though it's felt a bit weird doing that without connecting... until I just read your blog!