We generally like doing something when we witness the heartache and suffering of others. And certainly we should bring whatever good we can. But often the good that’s needed is simply our presence, and there’s nothing else to do per se except to hold this space for those we love.
To be sure, this life is filled with much suffering and grief. This might be physical, relational, spiritual, or otherwise. And love calls us to bear each other’s burdens – meeting each other’s needs as best as we can. For instance, providing food, clothing, medical assistance, counseling, or the like for those in need.
All the same, there are many other times in which we can only weep with those who weep. There’s nothing we can do to fix the situation or make it better in any practical sense. But this doesn’t mean we can’t do anything.
In these moments we offer the gift of our presence. Perhaps we sit with someone as they’re recovering from an illness. Or maybe we attend the funeral of someone who lost a loved one. In either case, this is not because we can say or do anything to relieve their pain. But our presence communicates love – that they’re seen and don’t have to walk this journey alone.
Just being present might not seem like much on our end, but it can make a world of difference for the other. As such, we must often humble our pride – not assuming that we need to do more, nor withholding because our mere presence doesn’t seem sufficient.
And, to be fair, we might never know, and they might never be able to communicate, just how much our presence meant to them. But we seek to do to what Christ asked of his disciples as he prayed in Gethsemane – to simply stay and keep watch with him in his time of need.
In the end, do whatever you can to make situations better when it’s within your power to do so. And remember our best course of action is often to just be present.