Purposeful Faith

Tag - compassion

What it Looks Like to Be a Good Friend

The checkout counter lady turned to me, right there next to my shopping cart and said, “Can I hug you?”

I wasn’t expecting it. I hadn’t done much to warrant it. I hadn’t ushered in world peace to the foundations of her life or dropped all my shopping goods to figure out her life plan or answered her every heart question. All I did was approach her in an authentic way.

When I came up to check out at Trader Joe’s (which I super-love, by the way!), she asked, “How’s your day? You sure bought a lot…” It was an understatement. My cart was so high the stuff was nearly toppling over on one side.

“I am trying to do a better job at taking care of the family. This is my attempt at it.”

She looked at the stuff and at me. Then she opened up about her stuff. I encouraged her and said a couple little things like, “I understand,” “I get that” and “It’s worth taking a risk. Risks you don’t regret, but regret, you do. ”

It wasn’t much. Not real brainiac stuff, but it was real. And this was the point, I suppose.

A couple days later, I met with another friend. She kind of shocked me when she did exactly the same. We were just hanging out and all of a sudden, she turned towards me, out of the blue, and hugged me. “Kelly, I’ve been through so much. It has just been one thing on top of another falling. Thank you for being here.”

I was taken aback.

Why are these people hugging me out of nowhere? I am doing nothing except being here with them.

With the checkout counter lady, I was with her as she talked about her future education, her fear and her boyfriend.

With my friend, I was with her as she explained how hard of a time it has been for her.

With.

Sometimes, the most impactful thing we can ever be is – with.

Not with – and giving advice.

Not with – and saying, “Oh you know, that once happened to me.”

Not with – and counting up what you’ll say next.

Not with – and thinking of other things.

Not with – and internally over their issues.

Just – with.

With…and understanding, feeling compassion, seeking to know, truly engaging, asking questions, responding generously, giving our true and painful story when led by God. Something I don’t do often, but I guess I did on those days.

The irony is that when you are with someone, you get touched back. God does it one way or another. People reach into your space and give you something you didn’t know you needed, but you desperately wanted. They cling to you and through authenticity, you realize you need them as much as they need you. They look at you in a way that lets you know your humility is shifting something in their life.

And one day, it’ll be you in their shoes – just needing to vent. It creates a security in your heart. Things will be okay.

“A friend loves at all times.” Prov. 17:17

 

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When No One Sees or Cares

When No One Sees

I remember as a kid that door knock. People from everywhere walked up to our cracked doorstep. People with knives, people with vacuums, people with contraptions and people with frozen foods. When the doorbell rang, you never knew what you were going to get. I always hoped it would be chocolate and something with a cherry on top; my luck was never that good.

Every time, my inclination was to run right up to the door, open it and say, “Show me your presentation, show me the process and tell me the story.” They always had a story and it always left you wanting to shell out hundreds of dollars on things you knew you never needed – but, all the same, felt great handing over in large sums.

These people knew how to reach deep within you and pull out – compassion.

Yet, the other inclination within a household, was to shut off the lights upon their arrival, to run to the bathroom or to get vertical against a wall. All of these were good techniques to be left safe, secure and unhassled. You just leave that person waiting, sweating, hoping and alone on a doorstep…unseen.

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Despite all the great things they bring to the table – you leave them unseen.

Despite all the preparation they have put into their project – you leave them unseen.

Despite all their dreams someone will care – you leave them unseen.

Despite a vision to forge into something more,
something risky and something powerful – you leave them unseen.

I stand on the doorstep sometimes. Do you? I stand trying to knock, in the best way I know how, not much succeeding – with no one really caring.

No one says to me, “Keep pressing on. You are doing something important here.” I keep moving, door after door, each time feeling like I am just left with cold air and a twisted ankle on the way back down the stairs.

I am sensitive, I guess. Aren’t, we all?

God, if you see me, why don’t you encourage me?

This makes me think of – her. She walked up to that well as if it was already a slammed door on her face. She knew what to expect: 1.) She wouldn’t be spoken to by men 2.) She was a Samaritan and Jews wouldn’t give her the time of day 3.) She was shady and unworthy all the same.

I imagine as people saw her coming, they hid behind the safe refuge of the well…

When No One SeesOne man saw her, though, saying, “Will you give me a drink?” (Jo. 4:7).

She answered with (imagine: an inner finger wagging at itself, “This is impossible”),
“How can you ask me for a drink?” (John 4:9).

Sometimes we feel so unseen, we feel so unworthy of being seen, we annihilate the love that tries to penetrate us. We let it burst into smithereens. Inside we nod our head saying, “There is just no way…”

I do this.
I believe what I have always known to be true.
I justify the case, rather than considering what could actually be the case.
I excuse others good intentions, saying, “If history is any indicator, they are bad.”

When No One Sees

Jesus says, “If you knew the gift of God … ” (Jo. 4:10)

If only, I knew it, I guess…

I might taste refreshing and rejuvenating water as she did.
(Jo. 4:10)

I might draw water from a well that gives new hope and vigor all the way up to eternity. 
(John 4:14)

I might beat down the lie – that strongarmed the truth – in order to hold me back.
“Go, call your husband and come back” (John 4:16)

I might confess.
“I have no husband.” (John 4:17)

I might find myself knocking on every door to share how me, the lame one, is now seen.
“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (John 4:29).

Have you considered the reason why you feel unseen
is because you want to keep – unseen?

I can’t help but think, what if we let in what we have kept out? Might we find it is the love of Christ that has been knocking on our door for so long?  What might happen if we stopped hiding and opened our gates?

When No One Sees

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