October 9
  When we can honestly ask ourselves which
persons in our lives mean most to us, we
often find that they are those who, instead
of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have
chosen rather to share our pain and touch
our wounds with a warm and tender hand.

Henri Nouwen


Today's Meditation:

Pain is difficult to go through, we all know.  But sometimes our friends and loved ones can inadvertently make things worse by trying to give us advice, trying to "fix" things when what we really need is a sympathetic ear, someone to just be there.  Someone who, when we tell them how we're feeling, doesn't say, "Well, you should. . ."  When we're hurt, the best thing we can do is allow our feelings to be, and to try to deal with them and let them pass.  You may feel that your advice is valid, but we must keep in mind that what works for us more than likely won't work for others.

It's so tempting to want to be helpful.  It's so tempting to want to "make" a loved one feel better.  But when I'm feeling down, I may react best to laughter.  You may react best to journaling about the pain--and your advice to me to journal would be heartfelt and sincere, but not at all helpful.  You being there for me to just share the pain that I feel and help me to deal with it would be extremely helpful.

I would like you to be there for me.  I want to be there for the people in my life.  But being there doesn't mean that you or I have to "fix" anything for anyone else--our compassion and our company can be the most effective medicine that we can offer to someone who means a lot to us in life.

Questions to consider:

Why do we tend to want to give advice and tell people what they should do when they're dealing with problems?

How can we remind ourselves to stay quiet and simply listen when our loved ones need someone to hear them?

Who in your life is someone who is there for you when you need them, without trying to tell you how to solve your problems?

For further thought:

Silences make the real conversations between friends.
Not the saying but the never needing to say is what counts.

Margaret Lee Runbeck


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