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What does comfort mean to you when a friend needs a little help? When a friend reaches out for a hand to hold, are you there to grab it? Back in 2004, an old college friend of mine committed not only suicide but murder before he took his own life. What was hard for me was that I didn’t find out about this incident until six months later. If only I could have talked to him one more time maybe I could have helped? Maybe I could have told him more about Jesus? Or maybe I could have just listened to him talk about what was bothering him.
The way I found out about this tragedy was through one of his friends. I had been trying to get a hold of my friend to catch up on life, but he wasn’t answering his phone. Something was wrong. So I looked up his buddy and called him. His friend had told me the news. He said, “You didn’t hear?” I’m like, “No.” Apparently my friend had reached out to his buddies, but his buddies didn’t pay attention. I was so mad. All my friend might have needed was a little comfort. And I know he didn’t call me because he knew I was married and he would have felt weird. Ugh. Stupidness. Not having a listening ear might have cost my friend his life, the girl her murdered, and his life after death.
It is a horrible story, and I still don’t know what happened. All I know is that his girlfriend had broken up with him. He was on drugs. And he couldn’t handle it. He obviously needed some help. I am still in unbelief. And I wish I would have called him sooner to check-up on him. This is an extreme case to show my point. But you never know how bad people are hurting.
I admire people who can share openly what’s going on in their life; I’m not talking about people boasting about themselves, I’m talking about people genuinely reach out for help. Why? Because it makes me feel human and it gives me a chance to help in some way or form.
It takes courage, confidence, and bravery to open up and expose our hearts to the world. We weren’t made to go through storms alone, so why do we try to keep it quiet and pretend everything is “fine”. Unfortunately, my friend did try to reach out, but no one was there to listen. Is that our fear of not sharing? Probably. But we have to take that chance especially if our life is on the line. The hard part is not knowing if your friend is hurting as bad as my friend was, so listen to them all.
When a friend needs comfort that is far away
Recently, an old high school classmate of mine was going through a difficult situation. She had a choice; keep it to herself or share it. She chose to share it on social media, not for sympathy or for attention, but because she needed help getting through the storm. I admire her for putting her stuff out there, especially on social media where 90% of the posts are only good things that happen in people’s lives.
My heart went out to her and her family. I knew I wanted to respond but I didn’t know what to say so I thought about and responded to her the next day. She felt alone, you could read it even though she didn’t say it. And that struck a chord in me. Whether it was emotions, hormones, the Holy Spirit, or a soul connection, I started weeping for her broken and confused heart.
I thought back to my storm I endured years ago in my personal life, how alone I felt. I thought about my friend and how he must have felt all alone. From experience, I knew the best thing I could for her was to reach out to her, pray for her, and give her a promise that I would. Prayer really does change things, and just knowing that other people are praying for you helps you put more trust and confidence in the Lord.
I believe my friend posting the updates about her situation was meant to not only keep everyone informed but for her to know who was sitting by her. Sometimes you have to just exist with someone… to do more.
Here are some ideas to help a person out:
- Visit them
- Send them a card in the mail
- Pray for them
- Call them
- Just let them know you’re thinking about them
- Listen to them
When a neighbor needs a little comfort
“As soon as you start thinking about the needs and burdens of others, and what you can do to alleviate them, or how you can bless and build up others, you begin to establish a new identity for yourself – your true identity.” –Matthew Barnett, The Cause Within You.
A while back I was talking with my neighbor. It started out as a friendly wave across the street, then she started walking towards me. I was in a hurry but knew I had to adjust my plans. She had to get a load off her shoulders and I understood the importance of a listening ear. Afterall she’s there for me when I need to vent! She needed comfort in knowing someone would listen to her.
After she was finished she looked really exhausted. Knowing what to say to comfort her was hard. I thought about suggesting ideas for solutions, but she didn’t ask for a solution so I just listened and told her I was really sorry she was going through all of this. She didn’t want advice, she just wanted to be heard.
What I did next
The next morning I tried to put myself in her shoes and asked myself if I were feeling down, what would make me feel a little bit better? I then hopped in the truck and drove to the market. Buying something for my neighbor is what I wanted to do. Who doesn’t like to get a gift? But I wanted to get her something she could look at that would bring a little joy in her heart, not something to eat or drink, but full of color. The store I went to has amazing flowers, so I plucked out all sorts of colorful carnations. The thing I love about carnations is their bright colors and cost. They are inexpensive but have a lot to say. So if you’re on a budget go for the carnations.
When I got home, I arranged the flowers in a mason jar and went over to her house. A soft knock on her door was all I did and she opened it immediately. I handed her the flowers and said, “Just thought you could use these on your desk.” No words were spoken, yet her eyes got glossy. She kindly said thank you and I left.
No matter who needs help whether it’s online or in your neighborhood, take notice. Listen to what they’re trying to say. And let them know you hear them.
By CT Copyright © 2016 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.
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