Standing With the Great or Sitting With the Broken – Stuart Segall
When I was a young man, I craved (for my own ego and self-acceptance) to stand or sit among the “great.”
Oh my, whether it was church, college, where I worked – I just hoped my lottery ticket would come through and I could sit, dine, have a beer or walk with (you name it). I just wanted to be in that sphere and hope for osmosis.
You see, I was hoping I would be transformed into that greatness. Is this just me? Or is there anything in you that resonates with these statements?
I realize some people are shy and would never see themselves this way. If so, no problem, but be reassured there are a lot of us out there from coast to coast, and then there is politics!
As I SLOWLY grew up, I realized the scene above. Through the years hopefully I have evolved spiritually and emotionally. I laugh at my youthful hungers and quest, but now I celebrate the fact that I understand the importance of the second portion of this powerful statement above.
We all have those times when we need someone just to give us their presence. Usually when I mentor people to “be there” for others I help them see two great gifts in doing so.
- You can start out by genuinely giving them your presence. In the world that I work in your ability to help people is driven by the degree you have. You cannot professionally counsel people without a license and proper certifications. You are limited by how high your education has gone. However, in real life when you don’t care who gets the credit, and only that the person is helped, often you don’t need all the extra add on, you just need to give of yourself – heart – ears – mind.
- A few simple yet careful words. “I am here…I really care about you…I hurt for what you are going through,” and then just be silent till they want to talk.
Recently a special friend reminded me how important it is to wait in silence when someone is recovering at a different speed than you would like or hope. How helpful and liberating for others when we understand that everyone heals and recovers differently — especially the time that it takes.
That is what you would want in your time of need. I encourage everyone, every day when you can, to remember the many fallen and broken hearted out there looking for comfort.
Perhaps I can share this view one more way. Here is my word picture for you below.
The scene is a lonely row boat tied up to a dock near the shore of a big lake, safe and away from the choppy waves and grey skies, and no other boats in sight.
You are the boat that simply ties up with them and docks with them in silence…you are there…and you really care, and they are comforted. How simple is “Do unto others…” Matthew 7:12
When Paul encouraged us in Galatians 6:2 to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”; often the foundation is giving people your time and understanding. I always believe that effective, compassionate and loving listening is an art.
If you are the kind that gives that to others, then you, my friend, are an artist.
Stuart Segall lives about an hour north of Seattle. He has spent most of his adult life counseling, encouraging, inspiring and uplifting others.