Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Take-Away

I went to Fellowship of the Parks in Keller Sunday to hear Rob. (Sam was 'under the weather'.) (He's better now.)

I don't think there's anyone easier for me to listen to than Rob.
When Don Kawahigashi gave the welcome at the beginning of the service, he said, "Pastor Rob Carmack is speaking today, so you'll need to fasten your seat belts!" (something like that)
And we did.

He spoke on Empathy and how we should rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.
My take-away was to not give advice to or try to rationalize with someone who is going through a very hard time.
And I usually so want to give advice, you know, to HELP them.
But I need to be silent with them.... and just be there.... or take some food, or run an errand, or do whatever they need - besides give advice - unless they ASK for it.

That made me think of a time back in 1984 when my twin had just been (two days before) diagnosed with stage 4 cancer (at the age of 32).   A lady (a pillar in the church) called me and started lecturing me on how I needed to give thanks in all things... and these things (cancer) happen because we live in a fallen world, but we can rejoice because we will see Jesus some day, and we won't be suffering then.  And that I needed to 'get a grip'.

I remember I kept saying, "You're right, you're right. Mm hmm."

Then when she hung up I just felt weird...like guilt-ridden.... like I was so weak, and I should be rejoicing that Peggy was closer to heaven... or would be healed, and that would be wonderful, of course.  

What was the matter with me?  Wasn't I a Christian?  Shame on me for feeling so bad.

So you can see that Rob's message on just 'being there' for people hit home with me.
It made me remember that.
And it made me realize that my desire to give advice is when I'm not in the throes of suffering - the other person is - and though I think I can help them with words of wisdom..... I NEED TO KEEP THOSE WORDS TO MYSELF (at least until they are wanted).

Well, there is more to tell about Peggy and her cancer.... and I've been writing about that lately (for myself - and may 'publish' it someday).
Life is good... and to live it ... and look back on it... and learn from it... is wonderful. 

And God IS with us... in the present, now... as he's been through the years, and will be tomorrow.

What a relief to know that.
What a profound relief.

But I don't need to preach that to folks who've just been given horrible news.

I need to just "be there" somehow.

Thanks, Rob.


Rob said...

Thank you, Nancy! I'm so glad you enjoyed the message.

Bobbie said...

So so true. Back in 1983, when my ex left me and my 3 year old and 6 year old, a lady at church told me that if I just had enough faith, he would come back. So, basically what she was saying to me was that it was my lack of faith that he had abandoned us? She left me feeling even more empty and she certainly did nothing to edify and lift me up. On the other hand, those who called and said "do you want to talk" or "can I come get your kids for a while" were the ones who ministered to me as Christ would have. The Church of Christ has a ministry called Lifeline Chaplaincy. You will find them in the major cities in Texas working in the hospitals, hospices, etc. I attended one of their seminars on how to minister to the sick, those grieving, etc. What stuck out most was "when you don't know what to say" don't say anything. And, never never say "I know how you feel." NO, you don't know how I feel. How could YOU know how I feel? So, I would have loved to hear that sermon. I bet it was a good one!

Anonymous said...

It was great to see you, Nancy!
I, also, appreciated his message a lot!! I still have a lot to learn. :)

Anonymous said...


Being Beth said...

Boy is that the truth! Thanks Rob AND Nancy for sharing. There's another aspect of this type of compassionate presence we can give to those suffering. Sometimes the suffering is so painful, so unimaginable there are no words, and when that happens, many people just don't come around, leaving the one suffering alone in their pain. That's not good either. You don't have to know what to say - don't say anything other than I'm sorry. The one suffering will lead the conversation. Just sit with them for a while, listen to them. You might not know how they feel, but you do know that they feel deeply, and just acknowledging that is healing and helpful for both of you.

Nancy said...

Bobbie, that is a good comment - so good - and thanks for that Lifeline Chaplaincy mention. That sounds great.

And Anonymous, I know you are - since you called this morning - and I so appreciate your encouragement!

And Beth, your comment about not going to the hurting person because you don't know what to say or how to act - is so good. (the comment is good). Yes, we NEED to be there - instead of avoiding the hurting person. Oh yes. Good point.

And you're welcome, Rob. Thank YOU!


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