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Saying Nothing Isn't The Answer

Have you ever had the urge to say something to someone who is going through a trying time in their life and not had the courage to say it to that person? I think we have all been there. We know of people that are in their time of adversity, and we have some words but just don’t have the courage to say anything because the fear of saying the wrong thing paralyzes us. We are taught that words have consequences and words create worlds, which is a good thing. Words can cut or they can heal. Words can inspire or they can burst a balloon of hope. Words can create more questions than answers.

There are times that we have potential words of wisdom or words of support to pass along, but our greatest fear is simply saying the wrong thing that may not create the feeling we are wanting to create. But we must understand that not saying or doing anything isn’t the answer either.

It was several years ago, on a Monday afternoon, and I received a call from a friend on some very devastating news. The news was that a very dear friend and a man I consider a mentor, his son had died in a tragic accident. I happened to be within 40 miles of where this man was. So, with my heart on my toes, I picked up my phone and called my friend. I had no clue what to say, but I knew what I was going to do. He answered, and I said, “Where are you?” And he responded, “We are at my son’s house.” I said, “I’ll be there.”

I arrived at the house, and I walked up to this man, and gave him a big huge hug, squeezed him tightly, and said, “I am so sorry.” That was all I said. And we sat on the porch, somewhat in silence. I didn’t say much else over the next hour. I sat there on our rears on that porch and just listened to the few words spoken. A few more people arrived, and I felt it was time to leave.

The key to that story, in which a father and a mother had just learned within hours that their son had tragically died, was twofold. First, I just went and found them and sat with them. Second, I simply told him I was sorry, and listened. We get in these situations and feel uncomfortable in silence, so we avoid them. We can feel uncomfortable not knowing what to say, so we say nothing. We are scared to pick up the phone and call, or too scared to send a text, so we don’t. It is our body’s natural reaction to not be uncomfortable so we do nothing.

BUT DON’T DO THAT! All you need to know is saying nothing is ok if you are just there. All you need to know is by typing out a simple text saying, “I am so sorry. I love you deeply, I care for you, and I will help in any way. Please call me if you ever want to talk.” Or pick up the phone, and say the same thing. There is no need for a miraculous epiphany of words. There is no need for the words, “It could be worse.” Or “God gives you no more than you can handle.” Those words don’t resonate with someone in their time of adversity.

The words that do resonate are ones of love, support, compassion, and true care. Doing nothing, saying nothing is by far a worse statement of unwritten or unspoken words that people never forget. Simply reach out! I challenge you to take action today. If you know of someone going through some adversity today, reach out to them with some support. If you know someone doing great servant work, reach out to them. Touch not only their mind but their heart with some special words of support. That person you are thinking about this very minute as you read this could use a little bit of “you” right now! And that intangible elephant in the room only gets larger with not doing or saying anything.

And to all those that have reached out to our family over the last 7 months, we thank you dearly! We thank you for your courage to reach out when you likely weren't sure what the heck to say! Thanks for your courage! Know that it will never be forgotten!! May God richly bless you!!


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