How many times have I been guilty of saying to someone "If there’s anything I can do, just call me”, rather than saying to them “I know you’re struggling at the moment, can I give you a call tomorrow to see how you’re going?”.
There is a statement that says ‘hind-sight gives us 20/20 vision’ and for me that is true when it comes to this one adjustment in my approach to helping people. I have discovered that when your life is in complete turmoil, the last thing you have the energy to do is call someone and ask how their world is going or to even call someone and reach out for help.
When I recently walked through a season of great pain, what I so desperately longed for was for someone to call me. Many people had made that grand and illustrious invitation to call them if I needed, but I didn’t have the capacity.
I longed for someone to call me and tell me everything was going to be ok. I wished that the phone would ring and for someone to be there to say hi, to hear what I wanted or needed to say. I hoped someone would be on the other end of that phone, to simply be,
simply listen and simply care.
But we rationalize it in our head don’t we? (I know I do …) When someone is going through deep loss, grief, heartache etc we say to ourselves “I am sure they have plenty of people to talk to”, or “I am sure they have plenty of support” and so we leave it to others to call. When in reality, this is usually far from the truth.
I think it is well ingrained in our culture to simply say “call me”, which is a more than reasonable and caring gesture. It offers a place for someone to turn to, it shows a willingness to help and listen. But for the person in pain it can be far beyond their ability to successfully carry out.
Ask yourself … how many times have you called a friend or loved one during your most excruciating moments? Or even just called to say that you’re having a bad day and could they chat? We don’t.
We don’t like to be burdensome – in fact I would go so far as to say that society has conditioned us to display ‘false humility’; the kind that rejects friendship when bestowed on us because in essence, it is weakness.
Upon reflection on my own journey through very deep pain, I have made the conscious decision to initiate the contact with those in pain, regardless of my own personal circumstances. I may (or may not) be struggling, but so are they.
In today’s world, phone calls seem to seldom be made… perhaps they’re too confronting, perhaps they’re too invasive? For whatever the reason, I have predominately turned to Facebook as a primary means of communication; a simple inbox to ask someone if they are ok. I have found (as I know you will too) that individuals are usually overwhelmed at your thoughtfulness and simply act of kindness.
I have taken this further and decided to check in on my friends whom I know are struggling initially and then every week / few weeks as the initial crisis passes. It is such a simple and quick thing to do but can literally be the moment that saves another’s life (and if we’re honest with ourselves, we spend how long on social media each day? Long enough to send our friend / loved one a quick inbox).
It doesn’t have to be Facebook however. Contact in general is the issue really. Whether it be a phone call, SMS, inbox, Skype, WhatsApp, email, messenger…whatever choice you make, choose to be in contact with those you now are struggling… acknowledging that they may not be strong enough to return your kind invitation
of initiating contact with you.
By Steve Morrison