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Being There

December 26, 2011

Whew!  The push and whirlwind of activity that leads up to Christmas is over.  I do love all of the activities and festivities, but I have to admit that when December 26th arrives, I am relieved. And, I’m particularly relieved if the holiday season passes and no one I’m close to is sick, in the hospital or going through a difficult time.

This year, though everyone in my immediate family is doing well, I do have some friends and extended family members who are facing challenges and my heart aches for them.  One friend’s mother is dying, another friend’s mother fell and sustained a concussion and head wound and a great aunt has fallen several times and may have to be hospitalized. All of these events happened over the last few days and reminds me that “life” happens and goes on in despite any plans we mortals might have made for parties, celebrations, etc.

It also reminds me that despite any plans we make, we must always be willing and able to change those plans if someone needs us. And, we must be willing to do so cheerfully.  The person going through a tough time doesn’t need to be made to feel guilty or like they are imposing when they reach out for emotional support. It’s part of the unwritten “being a friend” deal you make when you have a friend relationship with someone.  Being a friend also applies to family relationships – something some folks sadly forget as they let family issues/dynamics interfere with doing the right thing.

So, what is the best response to someone who needs you to be a friend to them? It’s really quite simple. After you learn about or listen to their problem, ask them this question: What can I do to help you? Assuming that their response is reasonable and that you can act upon it, then be willing (graciously) to act upon their request. It’s what “being there” is all about.

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