What can you do when you feel helpless? When a dear friend is going through something that is beyond tough? What do you do when your friend pours their heart and guts out and tells you all of the ugliness that they are dealing with? What can you do when your heart aches for them? With them?
I know you’ve been in this situation in some form or another. Maybe they were doing poorly in school or they were dumped by “the love of their life.” (My girlfriends have heard both of those from me!) Maybe it was something heavier like the loss of a loved one or a divorce.
What can you do?
Some scenarios have actionable things. Studying. Fixing or replacing a broken item. Those tangibles, those things that we can roll up our our sleeves and DO make us feel better. Hopefully it makes our friend feel better, too. Those things that we can do and affect feel good. We have and can reach a goal – something measurable.
What about those stories we hear where we can’t do ANYTHING? My heart hurts and my fists tighten. I want to cry right along with my friend. I want to scream from the rooftops. I want to heal and stop my friend’s pain. But I can’t. They have to go through on their own. We can’t always fix everything.
We CAN help though!
We can listen. Listen openly and deeply, without judgement or prejudice. Really listen. Don’t talk. Don’t interrupt – unless maybe to ask a question for clarity. Put down your phone and look at your friend. Make it uncomfortable. Hear their words. Listen to their tone. Watch their body language.
Sometimes I think all we really want is to be heard and listened to. Sometimes we want reassurance so give that to your friend. Remind them that you are there. Remind them that even though life sucks right now, they have you in their corner. Remind them that they are special and unique and loved!
And remember! Remember what they are sharing with you. Remember to check in on them regularly until the worst has passed. Then after that, remember to check up on them again and again.
In the moments between listening, reminding, and remembering there is one more thing we can do. Pray. I’m using the word to encompass everything that involves talking to a power/being that is greater than yourself.
Pray for your friend’s situation that it may be resolved quickly.
Pray for your friend’s well-being that they will be healthy and calm through it.
Pray for your friend’s peace.
Pray for your friend’s good night sleeps.
Pray for whatever comes to your mind and heart regarding your friend and their situation.
This is what we can do. I believe that when you give of yourself in this way it will come back to you when you need it.
I will listen to you, my friend.
I will remind you that you are loved, my friend.
I will remember to check up on you, my friend.
I will pray for you, my friend.