If you are like me you want to be a good person. You strive to do the right things. You work to be a good citizen and a good friend. You want to be the best version of you that you can be. We want to be a light for others. We desire to offer support, encouragement, and a helping hand when needed. We strive to be kind, open-hearted and gracious. We want to be there for people, especially friends and family, when they need us. We say things like “we are here if you need us”, “let me know how we can help”, “give me a call if you need anything”, and “you are in my prayers” during times of crisis, personal challenge, and loss. But do we mean it? Are we speaking truth when we speak these words or are we saying what we want others to hear? Are we just saying what a friend “should” say?” Are we simply trying to be a good person?
I find myself asking these questions. What are the motives behind my words of comfort and support? Are they real or not? We all should pause for a moment to reflect on those moments when we have uttered those words I mentioned above. Were they true? Were you willing to do anything? Were you really willing to be inconvenienced and uncomfortable?
A dear family friend’s son recently spent time in the hospital. I sent him a text that said “we are here if you need anything” one night at 11pm. He responded with a simple thank you and a few words of appreciation. But, what if he would have responded “that is great Aaron. I really need help. Could you drive to Indy to pick up my mom from the airport? She gets in at 2am.” What would I have done? Was I willing to help by doing anything?
A young man who I know has been struggling with life decisions and battling depression. His mother worries that he may self-harm himself. I have spoken with him many times and remind him constantly that “I am here” and “call me when you need me”. Will I answer if he calls me at 3am and I am in deep sleep? Will I jump out of bed and go to him in his time in need or will I tell him it will be okay and roll over and go back to sleep?
A man who I have known since I was in elementary school recently lost his wife. I commented on his Facebook page that I was thinking about he and the family during that time and that he was in my prayers. I wasn’t the only one. There were hundreds of people who wrote similar comments. Did they, did I, mean it? Would I really pray for he and the family? What about the hundreds of other people? Are they going to stop what they are doing in that moment and pray for them? Do they have a notebook that they use to write down prayer requests to use later? My bet, many will not pray for him. It was just their way offering support. Support through words, not action.
Have you found yourself in similar situations? Have you considered the “what ifs” when making these statements of support. Have you, do you, follow through when called upon? I encourage you to reflect and consider what your actions would be. Are you speaking truth or just saying what a friend is supposed to say?
One thing that I have learned over the last five years is this…..putting others first is inconvenient and uncomfortable. When you volunteer and serve others you encounter situations that are uncomfortable and their need usually does not fit your schedule. As a friend, you are put in situations that you are ill-equipped to handle. You see things that you will never forget. You are asked to do things that you once thought impossible.It is inconvenient and uncomfortable. Being a good person, a good friend, means being inconvenienced and uncomfortable.
I have asked a lot of questions in this post. I have one more to ask you:
Are you REALLY willing to be inconvenienced and uncomfortable? I hope the answer is simple.
Yes. Yes I am.