Out of place

Last Sunday I gave a man a ride to church. I made the small talk that one makes when meeting new faces, asked him how he was - how his week went. There are times in life when so much is going on, when all you need is someone to ask. Those days when life is so much bigger than you, when your troubles are overwhelming - when you have real problems - problems that when resolved will have changed the direction of your life. We talked - much was said and little was spoken. He's running I think - his wife wants to leave him, his son and his girlfriend are having trouble - their kids are sick.

He blinked and rubbed the tears back and I did not know how to be a comfort - I did not want to offer empty platitudes, and hollow words. I wanted to take all his pain and suffering and bear it far away. I wanted to be able to say that it would all be better - I wanted to cry with him. To hear his heart being torn, to see and hear him justify attitudes - attitudes that would only guarantee the very things he feared, all of this in the space of five minutes. I felt useless, not knowing what to say, so I did the safe thing and asked more questions. And so we talked - rather I listened, and he talked. It was a short ride that I tried to make longer. I never know what to say to older people when I'm asked for advice - I feel like the system is broken - I feel out of place.

So I stick to what I've been thru - talk about the comfort I've received - maybe I can't carry your load - but I can walk with you as you carry yours.

You never walk alone


  1. Reading your blog it's always giving me something to think ...

    The pictures, ...
    and of course the writings

  2. I'm with you. I don't like just throwing out advice. (Unless it's my kids, because they don't listen anyway.) Someone will offer you advice, then the next person will offer contradicting advice. They might as well all say "One word: plastics!"

    I think you did the right thing. Myself, I give an ear to bend, a shoulder to cry on (if necessary), or a place to forget their troubles for a while. I don't tell 'em it'll get better, because it'll probably just get different. Life as I've seen it is made up of interwoven pattern and change. We like the pattern because it's predictable, but change, even when it's by our decision, brings stress because no one can account for all the variables.

    Hmm. No idea where I was going with that. Man, I hope I didn't accidentally just offer any advice.

  3. And just think... for all the compassion you feel, God feels that much more. Jesus in you has already carried their burdens... So it is good that you don't give flat answers. God's love is beautifully form fitting to every heart, so naturally it wouldn't come across in the same way.

  4. You never walk alone...?
    Not everyone follows God's leading to listen to those in pain. Its not an easy thing, to listen.
    What grief and pain that leaves a hurting person in. Not only do they feel alone, they also feel God cannot hear them because there is no one to listen
    Because there is no one to listen, the echo of their own negative thoughts becomes a whirlpool sucking them down and down until it becomes despair
    Christ said on the cross "My God My God...Why...have you forsaken me?
    Christ knows what it is to be forsaken. I take comfort in his understanding of my pain, and because of this I can say I do NOT walk alone, but Christ is with me "Christians who chose not to listen" are the ones who "Walk Alone"

  5. I'm headed out the door and so I have to make this quick - Wow! I was not expecting such a response to this post.

    Talking about despair and comfort, giving me so much food for thought.

    Christ brings me to the cross, and there I empty myself and am filled. The cross is where I find myself again and again, I don't fully understand life, pain, joy and despair. I don't know what to say or what to do - but I know where to go. The storm still rages, and I am not alone.

    Christ knows more of pain and suffering than I. He listens the way love listens, he corrects me, teaches me, he is love.

    He weathers the storm with me.

    He is my strength and my portion.

    So often I only see that when my own strength fails me, and when my own portion is insufficient.

    I must away - but please - let me know what you think...