Friends in Crisis
A friend asked me how she could be a good friend to her friend in crisis. This is my text (yes, be very glad I don’t text you this much!). It’s just one point of view, but maybe it helps.
There is a time to weep. So often we all feel like we have to end things on a good note and project positivity…but that can leave someone in crisis feeling very isolated and they may need a friend to just BE with them.
And a lot of the comfort that I’ve seen people offer to myself and others in crisis seems to be more to the purpose of making it so that the speaker can walk away comforted, to give them enough of a degree of separation to go on functioning in their own life. It’s not intentional…it just is. I saw my daughter start doing that at FIVE, so I’m pretty sure it’s deeply programmed in our bones…but on the receiving end it can just hurt sometimes.
When my boy suffered his brain injury almost everything anyone said to comfort fell flat, or even worse, cut. “Kids are resilient.” “I read about someone who is wonderful and has had a great life with cerebral palsy” …those things stung. We were grieving the altering of my son’s life, hearing that he may never hear, walk, talk etc. He lost a big chunk of the future he was born into and those words put a gulf between us and dear friends and family that breathed them. We trusted that God would use it, but denying it or projecting someone else life on our boy just left us feeling more alone.
Lamentations, 3 – I think, spoke to me during a dark year of isolation – “it is good for man to bear the yoke when he is young.” “It is good for man to sit in silence.”
Those aren’t words I’d say to someone in grief, ever. But it’s good to be mindful of while they are in crisis. This may be that part of their journey – where they need to pull in. So would pray even more deeply for them and realize that God will use all of this…and that they simply have less time for friendship. Anticipating needs, providing meals, helping arrange care for other kids…that can be what they need more than words. Care packages with little things and sweet cards were so nice during the first years of our crisis. At this point I have a hard time remembering who sent the date night in a box or the popcorn and chocolate, but they were such sweet kisses, some of them from folks I’d never met.
A friend came over once when I was sick and home with my baby boy that never slept, struggled to eat etc. Her lemon and honey soaked tea spoke more than any sermon. My mom reading me psalms until I fell asleep while my babe was on the other side of the wall in the ICU was one of the sweetest moments and the very best comforts. Feeling David’s laments and his tears and outcries – I knew this could be bad and sad and He was still there and greater things were at work…that I could fall asleep with tears in my eyes and He would hold me.