A gift idea occurred to me today, and in this season when a lot of attention is put on giving gifts, I thought I’d share it. This gift can be given anytime of the year, and fits all sizes. It doesn’t cost money. It costs something that can be harder to give—honesty.
This morning I was in the restroom at church, combing my hair at a sink when a woman who serves in a leadership position came up to the adjoining sink. She asked how I was. At first I was going to say, “I’m good” and be done with it. Instead I told her that I was good—I was there—so I was doing good. I explained I kept thinking this morning, “Oh, I don’t want to get up. I just want to stay under the covers.”
Much to my surprise, the woman admitted she hadn’t wanted to go to church either. She woke up with a migraine, and still had it. But like me, she was good, because she was there.
I doubt we would’ve had that little conversation if I had not been willing to say I wasn’t ready to tackle the world. When I spoke up, we could admit our struggles. We said to each other, “Well, I’m glad you’re here.”
Someone—maybe a person you know, maybe someone you don’t—may need to hear you say, “I’m not at my best today.” That person may look on the outside the picture of perfection; the inner truth may be very different. Your willingness to be honest can give the person grace to admit she (or he) is struggling too.
I’m not saying you have to dump all your troubles on the person, not at all. You just let the person know, “It’s okay not to be okay.”
In a world which puts such a high value on appearances, empathy can mean more than you or I know, particularly at a time when so many hearts are heavy and hurting.
Note: In case you are wondering why I threw off the covers and went to church, this quote from singer Kirk Franklin’s book The Blueprint came to mind: “There was the car wreck, and the bullet, and the doctor’s diagnosis, and the pink slip at work—these were all things that God spared me from in the past week. Things I wasn’t even aware of. And church is my time to go and be in His presence and thank Him. Even when there are sick, stupid people there who are just as broken as me, church service is my time to be reminded of how good He’s been to me all through the week. Yes, there may have been some bad things that happened, but there were a lot of things that didn’t happen, a lot more bad things that could have happened. So for that I’m going to show my appreciation.” Unknown
7 responses to “Sunday Extra–A Gift You Can Give”
I love this post! It is too easy to follow what society expects, lying and saying “I’m fine” with a fake smile. I always remember a friend saying that fine stood for, Feeling Inadequate Needing Encouragement.
To be truthful, it was easier for me to “come clean” because my back was hurting a lot. When I am really hurting, my pride goes out the window. It takes too much energy to pretend all is well, when I can feel it’s not.
Awe yes, the power of vulnerability. How many times have I asked someone how they are doing without really listening for the answer?
Many times, David, I’ve done the same thing–asked someone how they are doing and don’t really listen for the answer. I hear the answer, but it goes in one ear and out the other. I don’t listen with my heart tuned in.
I can relate to this and it is ok to be not ok all the time! God is with us and we can be vulnerable to letting people Love us by being honest and vulnerable!
Thanks, Sherry, for reading and commenting. You are right, God is with us and His opinion of us is what really matters. In the past couple years, I’ve felt a little more freedom to be vulnerable.
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