A few days after my first son was born I had terrible abdominal pain. His labor had been induced, complete with epidural, so this pain was quite literally the worst physical pain I’d ever experienced in my life. On top of that, our baby boy was in the newborn intensive care unit with major health issues threatening his life. I was undone. Between the physical pain and the emotional pain, I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t speak and I couldn’t hear. As the pain physical pain intensified, I ran to the bathroom to throw up, but once I got there, I quickly laid down on the cold tile for fear I was going to faint. I was inconsolable.
My husband helped me over to our bed and lay beside me. For an hour he simply laid beside me and softly rubbed my arm, while I cried and moaned. His hand on my arm and that soothing touch felt like my only connection to sanity. I focused all of my attention on his soothing touch. At some point I drifted off to sleep and woke in the morning feeling exhausted but free from physical pain.
That was over ten years ago. And I often go back to that vivid memory when I’m sitting with someone who is experiencing excruciating pain. There are no words to make it better. There is no easy answer that will make the situation better. Dare I say it? There is no verse that will take away the sting. I remind myself how much I needed to feel someone by my side when I experienced that terrible pain years earlier. And in those moments, I know, all that is required of me is to be there. To sit beside my friend and just be. To listen. To cry with her. To hold her while she hurts and to be willing to journey though the pain with her.
Sometimes journeying together is done quietly. It’s a steady, unwavering love. A willingness to enter into the darkest places and simply stay by someone’s side.
Can you think of a time when you needed a friend or when a friend sat with you. Perhaps nothing was said, you simply grieved together?
Won’t you share in the comments so we can take courage in one another?