Yesterday, I took a few minutes to call a good friend that I hadn’t talked to in a while. After we got caught up on all the important stuff (kids, health, and saving the world,) we both shared the highs/lows of the past few months.
My friend got some not so good news about her health…and then I commiserated with her about my upcoming major dental work started all because of a tiny little piece of popcorn many, many years ago.
To be honest, we were trading war stories about getting older and how what used to work doesn’t now – which led into generalizing about life in general.
As we continued to banter back and forth about how our once magnificent machines (our physical bodies) used to work…we somehow got off topic on handling life when it becomes unmanageable.
Before we knew it, we were reminiscing about her daughter’s long bout with Lyme Disease and how at one particularly low point my friend told her daughter, “I won’t leave you here (meaning at this point of helpless desperation) we’ll get through this somehow.”
And they did.
Then my oh so wise friend said something profound after I told her how awful and thwarted I feel when I can’t change a terrible situation for someone I love.
Her words were,
“I think when we tell someone what we’re going through we don’t have any expectations of them being able to change the situation, we just want someone to take the journey with us so we know we’re not alone.”
That’s exactly how I feel when I share a heartbreak, a health problem, a financial burden, or an ongoing stressful situation. I have no illusions that the person I’m talking to can “fix it,” I just want someone to walk along with me…so I know I’m not alone.
Then, whatever “it” is, doesn’t feel so unbearable.
So here’s to being willing to listen to others without judgment or firing off a list of fix-it ideas and just extending some common grace for wherever the road takes us.