When you are a child, you think you are invincible. You run around, all willy-nilly, not concerned about bumping your head or falling down and skinning your knees.
But it is inevitable that you will do so. You get hurt, and you begin to cry.
As an adult, I have dealt with children many times – babysitting, church, taking care of friends’ children. People always tell you when a kid falls down and hurts themselves, never let them see your initial reaction. Act like everything is okay. Speak in a sweet, soothing voice, and almost practically ignore the fact that they are hurt because if you get upset, they will, too.
But what do you do when the person that is hurting is a grown-up?
There are so many different ways of dealing with pain and loss. We all react in different ways. One of the hardest things to comprehend is how to respond when someone you are very close to is hurting.
One of my very, very dear friends has experienced that kind of loss twice in the past two weeks. Most recently, he lost his roommate and one of his best friends in a devastating car accident this past week, before that it was his grandfather.
When I first found out, I couldn’t believe it. It doesn’t seem fair that someone should ever have to go through someone like this, but this time it felt particularly unjust. I felt transported back to last fall when Ben was taken away from me in a car accident, leaving his fiance and another one of my good friends in poor physical condition.
I wanted to reach out to him, and I called him, just so that he would know he is on my mind. But then I was faced, once again, with a dilemma.
How do you reach out to someone who is hurting? Do you take them in your arms, like that little child, comfort them with soft words and do your best to take their mind away from what has just transpired?
Or do you sit down with them, let them talk, acknowledged that it all happened, and just commiserate that this really, really sucks?
We aren’t children anymore, but it’s times like these that I miss that innocence.
My thoughts are with you, good friend. We’re here for whatever you want…whether you want to talk or you just want a friend, we are all here, and we love you very much.
No matter what you decide that makes you feel better, there’s one thing that remains.
You’re not alone.