I am pretty sure I smiled sweetly and gave another standard answer and walked away.
Sometimes it is just easier to give a standard answer. It's kind of like that whole "how are you doing" thing. Let's face it, most people don't really want to know how you are doing. They want a smile and a quick "I'm great." If we really launched into how we were doing every time someone asked us, I am sure people would run screaming for the hills and never ask again, right?
You see, we don't really need a thing. We need people.
There is a difference.
If I need the lawn mowed or the light changed or the oil in the car changed, I will get it done, even if I have to pay someone to do it. Yes, it would be nice if someone came to help occasionally, but regardless, I can get that kind of thing done.
But you cannot buy company. You can't hire someone to fill your quiet house with laughter and fun. Loneliness cannot magically be filled.
Those things require people. Community. Friends who are willing to take time out of their busy schedules to include others, even in the mundane of life. To do life together.
Just for the record, I am not alone in this. I hear it from single parents, widows, college students away from home, people who are sick or have an injury, and even the elderly. They don't want you to tell them to call if they need anything. If you are waiting for that call, then be prepared to wait for a long time. I also realize that our yearlong situation pales in comparison to so many. I praise God for what He has taught us through this -- that it has allowed my family to see needs we did not see before, to feel empathy we did not, and to understand people's hearts better. I pray we will not miss this opportunity that God has given us to make a difference in others' lives.
Wanna make a difference? Tell them when you are available to come visit. Offer to pick up pizza and join them for a movie night. Bake cookies with them. Show up at their house to help fold clothes or take out the trash. Pick up their child for the day and give them a rest. Remember weekends are lonely and holidays are worse. Treat them like family, instead of some anomaly that no one knows quite what to do with.
Stop asking what you can do and tell them what you can do! When we ask someone to let us know if they need anything, we are simple putting the responsibility back into their court and freeing ourselves of any action. Yes, sometimes those words come from well-meaning people, I know, but just as often they are a cop-out. I know, because I have used them.
This quote spoke to my heart months ago during a particularly hard week. It summed up how I was feeling to a T. Yes, in some ways I have to be a hero, because it is me or no one. I don't do it to impress anyone or hear applause from anyone or to gain sympathy from anyone. I do it to keep this family afloat until my husband returns. And some days it is simply exhausting. Most days it is very lonely. But what choice do I have?
Once again, through it all, I am thankful for friends who understand and a God that holds us close, loves us, protects us, and is OUR hero! In the end, may He get the glory!
Linking up with friends!