Last night the boys and I went with Scott as he shared with a community that’s hurting and healing from the devastation of the tornadoes here in December. He offered comfort, wisdom and guidance. He has a special gift to care for people when they are hurting that is only amplified by his wisdom and experience. He has a way of getting present with them in their pain that is truly transformational.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
It’s cliché, but it’s so true. There is so much power in simply showing up for each other. Sitting with someone in hard times, even in silence, can be so healing. Knowing how to help someone talk about their pain and process their feelings can be the difference between depression and hope.
It can literally save a life.
One of the stories Scott told last night was about a time he was trying to rally the boys to get in the car when they were younger, to get to soccer team pictures on time. As they often did (still do sometimes) they were playing around, distracted and not getting in the car. He finally lost his cool and yelled at them (like we’ve all done at times) until they got in the car. While driving away, he calmed down and told them he was sorry, but when he looked back, they were sitting silently, frozen, like they’d just seen a ghost.
He knew they need to talk about it.
Then he asked them a simple, but wise question, “What was that like for you?” At that, they were able to express how they felt. All of a sudden the conversation shifted from being about Scott and his behavior to being about them and their feelings. It was healing.
This has been a pure gold mine in our family.
I’ve asked it many times in similar circumstances. We’ve used it when the boys hear something traumatic on the radio and we have to explain what happened. We ask after they’ve fought with each other or with friends, when they’ve made a bad grade, missed an important activity, or been in an embarrassing situation. It’s helped give them words when they didn’t think they had any.
I’ve recently learned that it’s a great question to ask myself.
When something happens that causes an emotional response in me, it really helps to take inventory. When I’m calm, if I will ask myself this question and journal about it, it’s amazing what might come out. It’s like turning on a lamp in a dark room.
It helps me to see and navigate the layout so I can walk without getting hurt.
That one question will be such a powerful tool if the people in Rowlett will use it to care for one another by intently listening for the answers. They won’t need to “fix” what it was like. They just need to know what it was like and be present with each other in that.
That question is one way to truly show up and care, even when you don’t have answers.
I bet there’s a situation in your life that you might need to process. It would probably feel really good for someone to ask you what that was like for you and then sit and listen to your answer.
Today, I invite you to ask yourself.
Then, most importantly, write down your answer. It might take 5 minutes or it might take 5 days, but get it out. Write about everything you felt, thought and experienced. It might bring you healing to get it all out on paper. Beyond that, I HIGHLY suggest, you call a friend, or set a coffee date and tell her all about it. I think you’ll be amazed at how much she cares when you’re able to talk about your experience.
You never know, she may need permission to do the same.
That’s what love is all about, being courageous enough to show up as we are and give.
to more of that,
P. S. This process also might open up something bigger that you realize you need to process with a pastor, mentor or professional therapist. If that’s the case, please do that too.