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.
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.
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.
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.
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.