January 31, 2017

Showing up when Someone is having a Hard Time.

There’s a lot to be said for someone who shows up and sits by our side in the midst of a hard time.

Whether it’s after a bad day, on the heels of tragic news, in a moment of stress from a job loss, when we’re worrying about our children or any other discouragement along the road of life, it’s a special kind of person who will show up as a presence when we are facing any kind of suffering.

There was a time I felt lost and alone in a tragic situation, going through what felt like impossible heartbreak. My emotions were surging, it felt like my heart was hemorrhaging. It was hard to breathe in public. I endured it alone for months, isolating, tucking my head and braving my way through. But as hard times do, the strain finally became unbearable to handle by myself.

I reached out by email to a handful of trusted family and friends and simply said, “This is harder than I’ve let on and I’m overwhelmed.”

And so they came.

Within hours, one after another, they came. First was a family friend who appeared at my door, straight from a hot yoga session just to sit with me. “Let’s look at one aspect at a time,” he suggested. “I’m going to think about all you are bearing as if it were happening to me. What would I do? What have I done? Let’s triage it together. You’re not alone.”

He left me with more hope that day than I’d had in a long time. My soul felt strengthened, I was greatly encouraged and inspired just from his visit.

Next was my sister. She skipped an important class and drove over in an hour to get to me. She sat quietly in the midst of my tears, as my lamentations poured out. I described one thing after another that hurt me and I was worried about. “We’re in this together, you are not alone,” she said leaving me with a couple of solutions to consider.

A couple of hours later, another friend called and said, “I want you to know you can go to bed tonight knowing I’m here, you have options, you’ve got a friend in me. I’ll show up in a moment if you need me, just call. You don’t have to go through it alone.” As he spoke, tears of relief silently rolled from my eyes as I whispered, “Thank you, you have no idea what a comfort this is.”

The presence of humanity in the midst of my heartache breathed life into me, even before solutions ever came. I was grateful for comfort, presence and kindness versus a lecture, advice or any assignment of where I might’ve gone wrong. There were no cliché, empty “chin up, hang in there” type sentiments.

I was met with support—I felt the power of “we are in this together.” And somehow, it felt like my healing had begun.

I was encouraged enough to get up and face my way through another day because of the kindness being offered. It helped me believe that things were going to get better.

It’s important to be mindful and present, as a soul traveling life’s experience. Being present in the moment is the place where we can face life with peace—it is the way to enlightenment and joy. But to show up and be present in someone else’s needful moment is indeed a powerful thing.

I encourage being there for people because I have experienced the healing power of the presence of others.

If anyone you know is suffering in loneliness, heartache, has received bad news or is going through a downtrodden time, consider showing up and being present with them. Call, text, drop a note in the mail, go to the door and say, “I don’t know what’s going to happen, I don’t know what got you to this point or what’s going to get you through it; I just want you to know you’re not alone.”

You could be the difference between tears and strength, hope and despair.

And for those suffering the weight of a burden alone, it’s important to reach out and ask for help and comfort. You will be amazed at the level of kindness others are able to extend. We are after all, in this together.

“We are all just walking each other home.” ~ Ram Dass 


Author: Annie Highwater

Image: Wikicommons

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

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