Saturday, April 30, 2011


This week has been a major tragedy in the southeast; many lives lost. Words cannot console those who have lost loved ones in the paths of the tornados. What we are called to as friends of those who mourn is to turn to the power of "being." This "being" with someone "should not be mistaken for a set of simplistic techniques such as giving a pat on the back or a superficial or shallow compliment." The power of it is expressed with "the eyes, facial expression, countenance and other nonverbal communication, as well as gentle words of acceptance and encouragement emanating naturally from the ["being" person's] heart." (

When I was fifteen, my grandmother died of heart disease and kidney failure (she lived with us for several years beforehand). I was very close to Mom-Mom and it was very hard watching her health fail. While I was dealing with her transition from life to death, a friend of mine came over to "be" with me. This friend was someone I had just met the semester before at a co-op I attended for school. We weren't extremely close, but she was a woman of faith and what she did continues to mean the world to me today. What did she do? Just what I said, "be." While I was with my grandmother, she sat next to me. She sang songs of praise with me. And when I cried, she held me. Did she talk? No. I didn't need her to, because... words cannot console the mourning. Her parents were wonderful, as well. Allowing her to stay with me for several days. Allowing me to feel God's presence in her. The Presence that comforts more than anything. It may not seem that much, but when other friends were not there for me, she was. She was in a way that many of my other friends could not have been even if they did come be (in the common sense) with me. She naturally knew the power of "being." And... she did it extraordinarily well.

People need to harness this and extend it to their loved ones who are hurting. Those in need will feel this affirmation and be consoled in a way that is like no other way. Although a loss of a loved one causes the most extreme grief, this form of consolation does not only have to be used for it. Any mourning can be helped to heal with the power of "being."

1 comment:

  1. It's so good to be reminded of the positive side of silence in supporting someone who is grieving. Usually I think of the negative side-- how we should be silent because any words we speak are more likely to cause additional pain than to help.