We doubt the power of presence and we shouldn’t. Somewhere along the way, being there for someone became less about being there and more about saying the perfect phrase, buying the perfect Hallmark sentiment, or doing the perfect action. The intentions may be good, but sometimes it smacks of a second-rate substitute for being there for someone.
Our ongoing visa paperwork battle and recent dual-country/family-splitting living situation sucks. It’s OK – we know it. We don’t doubt God has a plan, that we’ll be made better by going through this process, that there is purpose in the apparent chaos – we just need to know we’re not facing it alone. There is no need to say the perfect something. In all honesty, as a community, we put that pressure on ourselves. People feel a need to relate. Though there is power in a shared or similar experience, it is not the be all and end all of support. Talking about how you lost your cat for 6 hours does not really parallel having part of your family in Poland and part in Romania. We hope you never have to relate to this experience.
There are times in life (please read as the hard, awkward, painful moments we encounter) when a simple, “this sucks, but I’m here for you” is best. Granted “being there” is sometimes limited by distance, but let’s take a moment to remember the power of presence. Never underestimate the message your presence communicates. Often, it’s enough.