It’s from a Christian magazine, and talks pretty plainly about how to help a struggling friend. It’s not novel, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s very handy. http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/how-help-hurting-friend
As I read it, I thought a little about the most helpful things I’ve seen so far. Most of them are so incredibly simple, they’re easy to overlook:
1. Saying hello. They say that people experiencing loss feel alone wherever they go. I didn’t find that everywhere, but in plenty of places. It was a big deal when someone took the time to say hello.
2. Actually talking or spending time together. That went even farther than saying hello, no matter what the subject. That time is just gold, and all you have to do is show up. One friend came over to watch football a few times and never blinked at our pink bear or pink sweatshirts. That went a loooooong way (and so did he now, for a good job 🙂 ) Of course, the opposite would be true, and painful as well. Make sure that hurting people know you want them around. That’s really important.
3. Listening. Proverbs 18:13 and 18:15 talk about the importance of hearing something before commenting. That means so much more than even having the answers. Those will come in time. The listening makes caring something real.
4. Questioning. One person I had to work some things out with took the time (with seemingly no time limit) to ask what I needed. Neither of us knew, but we could work our way to the answer. Asking the question also forced me to think about it, which was good for me, because I needed to know.
We’ve been blessed to have a lot of good help and support around us. This article was a nice reminder of that. Nobody survives something like this on their own.