Friday, June 1, 2012
Before I begin, I want to reiterate what I said to those ladies: that what I challenge in this post is as much for me as it is for anyone else.
I am learning that there are 3 main ways we can respond with someone is going through a difficult situation:
1. We can say nothing/do nothing. Reasons might be that we don't know what to say, we don't think we have time, or we think other people will reach out. I have found this to be very hurtful, and after talking with a few other people about this, I know I'm not alone.
2. We can say, "Let me know if you need anything." While this may very well be genuine, it puts the person receiving that message in a tricky spot. It's hard to know if the person offering really means it, or how/when they might be willing to help. I have heard that statement dozens of times over the past months, and I can think of only a couple times that I actually contacted someone who'd said to let them know if I needed help.
3. But the third response, and the one I challenge us all to aspire to, is to DO SOMETHING INTENTIONAL AND SPECIFIC. Friends and family reached out in so many amazing ways before, during and after our hospital stay. Here are some examples:
*Childcare--Caring for Nathan and Natalie while we were away is definitely the most sacrificial gift we received, and we again express gratitude to my parents and Eric's mom. We also had several friends here who gave my parents a break now and then by inviting our kids over to play.
*Food--several people brought meals here to the house, either for our family to enjoy in our absence, or for us to have once we got home. We were also blessed with several people who brought us homemade food during our hospital stay. As a patient, my meals were covered, but food expenses for Eric would have been much higher if his sister, Kendra, and others hadn't identified this practical need.
*Communication--Every email and piece of mail we received was a treasured reminder that though we were far from home, we were being thought of and lifted in prayer!
*Outside the box--A dear friend ordered Eric's and my favorite candy bars and magazines and had the hospital gift shop deliver them to our room. Another blessed me with a haircut certificate at the local beauty school. (This was such a lovely idea to be pampered, and it made me cry, because I was supposed to get my hair cut the VERY day that I wound up in the hospital.) Monica made a really neat mobile with prayer requests on it that is still hanging in our dining room window.
If you would like some additional inspiration of ways you can reach out to others, this list is awesome. Though it's intended for moms with new babies, I think many of the suggestions have a much wider appeal.
Going through this trial has made me want to be more intentional in reaching out to others, so as I said initially, this is a challenged I need to be reminded of. I'm curious to read your responses to this post.