Nancy and I were emailing yesterday. Among other things, we were talking about her office going on vacation and my office not. About the challenging facing families of the kids her organization serves. About the challenging facing everyone in and out of my organization.
“This is hard,” she wrote.
And she’s right.
I used to tell families who lost a loved one, “I’m sorry for your loss.” I still do. But I realized that they needed someone to look them in the eyes and in the heart and acknowledge that “this is hard.”
I told a wife last week, “it’s okay for you to not know what to do next.” After 45 years together, she was at a loss. That is hard.
And this is hard. This moment when almost all of our habits and patterns and routines are being disrupted. Most of our ways of dealing with stress are disrupted. Most of our ways of finding encouragement are being disrupted. Most of our jobs, most of our outings, most of our friends, most of our thinking.
At a time when many people gave up social media for Lent because they wanted to control their dependence, it seems that it will be the only way to see people.
This is hard.
I’m not suggesting that we stay with hard, of course.
We can figure out how to love one another in remarkably practical ways. Like sending notes. Like making phone calls. Like making pie. Like listening for the need behind the need and responding to it. Like offering forgiveness. Like spending time learning about Galatians or the causes of homeless or baking bread with as few ingredients as possible and then sharing what you learn. Like giving away money to people who are out of money because we aren’t going to the places they work.
All of those are ways to help which we can do because of the hard.
But I am convinced that there is value in listening to the concerns of the person across from you and saying, “this is hard.”
I talked about this from the hospital perspective last year.