It's the unexpected visit to the emergency room with a sobbing six-year-old writhing in pain. It's the moment you say goodbye to her and turn her over to a surgeon's care. It's the feeling that the earth has stopped spinning for this moment, and all the things you thought were important suddenly don't matter anymore.
It's in these desperate times when our hearts are perhaps the most receptive to the tender words of Jesus. It's in these moments of crisis that we struggle to form sentences, much less prayers. We find ourselves laid out, and completely needy, though often we don't even know what we might need.
This is the time, and this is the place we can offer one of the rarest and most treasured gifts to another person: the gift of presence.
The gift of just sitting there. That's it. You may not have the perfect words to say, and you may not even know what to do. But the point is, and that which will be remembered is: you showed up.
Sitting by my side in the moment says "I care." It says "my schedule doesn't matter right now. You do." Perhaps even better than praying for someone across social media, consider coming across town to pray with them. I fear that our technology becomes an easy substitute for real, face to face, body to body presence. And all the facebook "likes" in the world just aren't the same as someone dropping everything to sit quietly by your side and make sure you're okay.
I'm thankful for the gift of presence through such an agonizing week. I needed help. I needed support, and shoulders to cry on. I needed real, flesh-and-blood people with whom to sit and to share. I just needed a safe place, because in isolation, I will most definitely despair.
Our bodies were created to be in community with other bodies. When (and not if) suffering appears, let us be those that give the gift of presence in small ways and large.
Let's just come and sit, even if it's for a few minutes.
Even if it's in silence.
Let's get off our phones and our computers and be present with people.
Let's show up.