Sitting in Silence

The other day I had the chance to catch up with a friend very much known to The Dale. During the COVID pandemic we haven’t seen him as much so I was excited to see him on this occasion. As I checked in to see how he was doing, I began to understand that he was under a lot of stress and really having a hard time coping with the current realities of his life.

In the moment I laboured to find the right words to say in response. I felt like there was nothing I could say or do that would make him feel any better. But I found myself at least wanting to acknowledge what I was hearing, and said something like, “I’m sorry that you’re struggling.”

“Struggling ain’t even the word, bro” he said.

He wasn’t upset with me, but his succinct reply was an acknowledgement that sometimes there are simply no words that will suffice in the moment. It was a gentle reminder to be a resolute listener, and a call to be at peace with serving in such a role without thinking I need to soothe the wounded with my words. Sometimes presence is the best thing I can offer.

The truth is that conversations like this one are commonplace around The Dale, and each time I find myself at a loss for words. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing.


I’m a Community Worker at The Dale Ministries – we seek to empower those experiencing poverty of spirit or space. We have little, but give and share what we have. As part of this labour of love, I seek to raise 100% of my salary to continue in this work. If you’d like to donate, please click this direct link https://www.thedale.org/donate/ or contact me at pete@thedale.org for more information.

 

2 thoughts on “Sitting in Silence

  1. I appreciate your frankness in engaging with others. I am a “fixer” by nature – when people tell me their troubles I would try to find solutions. That was how I was raised and the idea of just letting people be was foreign to me. a
    I have had to learn a new way and it has freed me not only from fixing others but has also been a journey to recognise the burdens I have.

    Like

    1. I certainly share that struggle, Vicki! In my own life I’ve typically tried to “get on with it” when I’ve had my own struggles, but that lends its own issues as well.

      Like

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