The life and times of the Godfrey ten.

I’m real sorry.

Knowing what to say to someone who is living through a storm has always been a struggle for me. I never know what to say to someone who’s had a close one die, get badly injured, or any tragedy. I desire to be sincere in my words, but also trying to be original. So this last couple of times I have been trying to pay attention to what encourages me, or what I like to hear people say. I remember right after my dad died I would be contacting people out in the field, and there in bright gold right above my heart was my name on my bullet proof vest. It was almost like a neon sign blinking, begging for someone to ask…. you’re not related to the Godfrey that got killed are you? The first few times it caught me off guard and I fumbled around with my words, ignoring the unsuspecting sportsman, but the more I thought about it, the more I wondered what they would say if I said yes. So me being me that’s what I started to do. “Yes, that was my dad” was my standard response. Then I just waited in silence. Almost instantly you could see the blood drain from their face. Now what? What do I say? I would just look at them in silence, curious what would come out of their mouth. Usually it was stammering, followed by “I’m really sorry about that”. The standard response. I would reply with “yeh, me too” and then get right back to business. This taught me a lesson regarding the words that emanate from my mouth, or the double edged sword.

Jeremy's camera pictures 516_640x480

Jo with Jellybean, her birthday rabbit (still don't know if it is a boy or girl)

Jeremy's camera pictures 428_640x480

Our happy girl

wore out after a great birthday party

wore out after a great birthday party

This latest experience caused me to reflect on what people have said to me when I have been going through the absolute lows of my life. I wanted to know so I would know what to say to others when it was my turn to attempt to comfort them. I must say, I really liked hearing “we’ll be praying for you” , especially from people that I knew were not just saying it, people who said it and I knew they would hit their knees, probably cry, and pray from their very soul and being. When they say they are going to pray for you, that means something, that inspires, that gives you hope and encouragement. You know they are top friends on God’s facebook, and he listens to them. I have been fortunate to know a lot of those people.

Zoolander

Zoolander (or Jeremy/ Jerms as we call him)

cousin Gunnar at Grandpa's funeral

cousin Gunnar at Grandpa's funeral

Grandpa's burial site, overlooking Homer. (Not his cross)

Grandpa's burial site, overlooking Homer. (Not his cross)

But upon reflecting, the most memorable, the most inspiring, the one that I will likely never forget was not from a close friend of mine. It was right after I wrote the “at what cost blog” . This giant of a man, an acquaintance but not a close friend, found me when I was sitting by myself. He walked up to me grabbed my hand, looked me directly in the eyes, I could see the tears bulging and sparkling in his eyes, I could feel his hand trembling and see his chest heaving a little as he struggled to maintain his manly demeanor. He ,being a father of young kids, looked right into me and whispered one word with his voice crackling and trembling “dads”. That is all he said, that was all he had to say. I knew right then that he truly felt for me, perhaps he could not relate exactly to what I was feeling, but he definitely felt for me. So with one word, a man, and acquaintance, perhaps touched me more than any other condolence I have ever  received.

Jake and Jo, brother and sister forever

Jake and Jo, brother and sister forever

Asia, Aevry, McKenzie and Jo ( probably all spelled wrong)

Asia, Aevry, McKenzie and Jo ( probably all spelled wrong)

Love's riding in daddy's car ( he drives faster than mommy, but not over the speed limit!)

Love's riding in daddy's car ( he drives faster than mommy, but not over the speed limit!)

In conclusion: Only 30% of conversation is the actual words spoken. Therefore, what you say isn’t nearly as important as to how you say it, show that you really mean it, that you mean what you are saying and if you say you will pray, pray and pray earnestly. I am not saying you have to cry or well up, but just be sincere.

Extremely sick during Grandpa's funeral, and days to follow.

Extremely sick during Grandpa's funeral, and days to follow.

How about you? What has worked for you? What have you said or has someone spoken to you that comforted you? Please share so that we could all learn from your insights.

5 responses

  1. Stephen

    I have always found that those who sought me out to say something always seemed to have a sincere word for me. Those who only seem to remember when they see me are probably sincere too, but not thinking/praying about it like the others. With my niece, Kara, many have asked about her welfare and I find that very comforting as most of her matters are aired over the prayer chain and not person to person. She is not even my child but many have asked and that means a lot to me just to know that it is still on people’s mind even if there haven’t been recent updates.

    August 2, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    • I like that. I don’t do that. I am one of those guys who tries to avoid drama. Maybe that’s why it is tossed in my face so much 😉
      Thanks for the comment, I think this is great.

      August 3, 2009 at 4:58 pm

  2. During the most difficult ache I’ve ever had to experience I called someone who’d been through the same situation. We weren’t particularly close friends, but she was someone I knew I could feel comfortable sharing with. I planned on explaining the situation on the phone, but as it turned out I didn’t make it past “Hey, this is Niki” before the tears took over. Her immediate response was “Oh no… I’ll be right there.” She dropped everything and came to sit with me and just listened and cried with me. She shared when I asked her questions, but didn’t try to make the time about her or her previous situation. She kept a hand on me almost the entire visit. My experience with this friend changed me. Instead of offering advice and counsel, she simply sat, cried, and comforted.

    August 3, 2009 at 10:07 am

    • It seems not being alone, being able to relate is huge in these type of situations. I love that you picked up on the fact that she didn’t make it about her, but just the fact that you knew, she knew helped to comfort you. Another great one.

      August 3, 2009 at 5:00 pm

  3. Pingback: 200 « Tra and Glenn Make Ten.

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