I have written on this topic in the past, but a very sweet friend wrote me the other day. She wanted to apologize for not being in touch as consistently as she would like to be. There are many reasons why - distance, busy lives, kids, etc. However she was totally honest and said she often doesn't know what to say, so she says nothing.
I totally get that. I wouldn't know what to say to me either.
I blame those stupid lists. What not to say to......(insert people group). Every time I read one of those I cringe realizing I have most definitely said something listed. Talk about pressure!! In an already difficult situation - dealing with a friend who lost a spouse, lost a child, was diagnosed with cancer - we feel we have to say exactly the right thing. Like there is some magic phrase to make it all better.
There isn't any wise word that is going to make the pain go away.
Just say something. Anything.
Now this isn't to say there aren't some idiotic things people say in the midst of tragedy. I have heard many of them. Yet I know the people and I understand their intention is to bring comfort. When I use my "intention filter", nothing sounds wrong.
So for those of you out there who are struggling with what to say, just say hi. Send a quick note letting the person know you are thinking of them. Give them a hug when you see them. Leave some flowers at their door. Call and say, I don't know how to help but I want you to know that I am here for you. Those small gestures mean a lot to someone who feels so isolated by their circumstances.
And to my friends. Comment on the blog. Reading it does not notify me that you are listening. Call me. I am never too busy to chat, I just may need to give you a call back. Send me a quick note or email. I love writing back. And pop by. My house is always open, albeit not always clean.
There. Pressure gone.