This past month I’ve been thinking about what it means to stand with people, to help them, and how those relate. Often, I feel powerless to help, whether that be my own uncertainty coming through or that there isn’t anything I can do to change the person’s situation. In these moments, I struggle to go past my need to take action and I am learning to just be with the person, to stand with them in their journey. This is something that isn’t easy for me. It would be much easier if I could fix whatever the problem is.
Putting this into practice has been very awkward as my first reaction is to act, to do something, to somehow make the situation better, to say exactly the right thing. Practicing active listening and just letting the person know that they have been heard has been very different and often sounds strange. I worry about whether I’m doing or saying the right thing and lose sight of the other person.
Recently, I enjoyed reading “The Shack,” and it painted a good picture of the importance of relationships and love that God intends for us to live out with each other and with him. It was a good reminder that in all those moments God is present, standing with us. When I inevitably don’t have the magic words to say or any ability to change the person’s situation, I can be present with them. I can acknowledge their voice and I ultimately know that God is with us.
Ashley summed all of this up quite nicely in her sermon on Sunday by challenging us to focus less on doing and more on being, to go into the wilderness, the unknown, knowing that all the way God will be with us.
–Allie Tate is serving at Seymour Center for Seniors this year. She enjoys traveling and playing with her dog Mazie.