I was reminded last week that when life delivers news that pulls the rug from under our feet, words matter…but our presence matters more.

We live in a culture that is driven by what we can do or say, and usually our lack of response, despite our good intentions, is selfish. We feel helpless. We know there is little that can be done or said to make it any better. We forget that our lack of response only deepen wounds. Often we fail to recognize the value of companionship even in silence. In our mourning, we offer quiet comfort. In our tears, we offer consolation.

A friend loves at all times. – Prov. 17:17a

Our presence can be as important as grand gestures, perhaps more so because it requires sacrifice. It means giving of your time, a precious commodity we believe we can’t afford to waste as we rush to meet the incessant demands of others, and our own pleas for self-fulfillment and pleasure. It means giving of yourself. When you really love someone, you have to set aside how you feel for the sake of the other.  It means being open to unguarded moments that can be awkward or intense. It may mean listening deeply to hear beyond the spoken words to a heart that is aching for compassion or affirmation.

It’s ok be honest, to admit both to ourselves and the other person, that we sometimes don’t know how to answer or we feel ill-equipped to provide answers. But we love them. We are here. And when you are truly present with them in that moment, you are giving them a gift of great value.

Wherever you are – be all there. – Jim Elliot