Gifts for the Grieving
Gifts of Words or Silence?
This holiday season is often about giving gifts. For the brokenhearted people in your circle of influence, what are appropriate gifts to offer them? What will bring them a small moment of joy or at least relief from their pain? Is it words or silence they need most? Is it something in a box with a ribbon or might it be YOUR presence they long for most? Yes, I know, we are crazily busy during this holiday. Our schedule is packed with parties, concerts, shopping, wrapping, baking, entertaining, and more. So it will take an intentional choice to BE with a grieving friend, to think about his or her needs and put aside other trivial matters to reach out and spend time with those who ache beyond description during this supposedly joyous season.
I was thinking of Jesus coming into this dark and broken planet as an infant. He grew up in our pain and grief. He spent his life attending to the most broken of individuals. Somehow, I m thinking if we claim to follow him, then maybe we need to look around and enter the pain threshold of the bereaved this season. Once we get there, what do they need most from us? Here are a few things to consider:
- They need compassion, not pity
- Our willingness to listen (in silence) and hear their stories
- Honesty from us, when we don’t know what to do for them, let them know, but also assure them you care and will not abandon them
- Remember your time together is about them, not you
- When you do speak, encourage and support, don’t preach or be trite
I just came across three quotes from friends of a brokenhearted person. These might be insightful as you think of what you want to offer in words to the person in your life who needs your encouragement.
“Hey old friend – just saw your post and don’t know whats up – but….. broken is simply the state that precedes REPAIRED so however difficult the hardship I am here to walk through it with you. You will be in my payers.” rb
“Just thinking that any of my words can not change your situation. I care that you are hurting and I know that there is comfort in the healing and hope filled words of our Lord. He promises to heal our broken hearts. I am entrusting you to His everlasting arms.” kr
“I’ve been there too shipmate and you are not alone. Today’s tragedies are tomorrow’s testimony and you will persevere. Stay strong brother and I’ll call soon to talk. Sent you my cell number on inbox if you want to reach me anytime. I mean it, anytime!” st
Remembering the hurting, reaching out to them, sharing their pain-filled space, listening in silence, and speaking words of encouragement may be the best gift we can give a grieving friend.