By: Chaunte McClure
When our friends need a shoulder to cry on or someone to console them, many of us may think words have to accompany our presence, but that is not necessarily the case.
I came to this realization after visiting a friend who had one of the worst experiences in her life. For years, we’ve shared some great experiences. We’ve laughed together, had deep girl-to-girl conversations, prayed together and supported one another, but on this particular Sunday night when she needed me most, I was speechless. I was numb and I kept wondering what to say as tears occasionally streamed down her face. I wanted God to give me the words that could comfort my friend who desperately wanted to be a mother. She was lying in bed, crushed because her pregnancy ended shortly after it began. She had a miscarriage – for the second time.
Weeks later, I remember her husband sending a message to thank others and me for our support during that difficult moment for them. I acknowledged his gratitude and told him I felt like I didn’t do enough. The fact that I was lost for words bothered me for a few days. Then one morning I found comfort in hearing God say I had the right to remain silent.
Through her tears and sadness, my friend recognized my silence, but rather than thinking less of me, she understood. She expressed it in a handwritten thank you card:
Being there for someone doesn’t always mean we have to be vocal. Just being there is a wonderful ministry. Your presence alone can bring comfort to those who are grieving, and silence will position you to actively listen to what he or she has to say. On the other hand, speaking can add insult to injury because we tend to say the wrong things. Remember, Proverbs 12:18 says, “reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
If you find yourself in a situation where you are lost for words, remember, when you don’t know what to say, you have the right to remain silent.
I’ll introduce you to my friend soon in what I think will be my last installment of ‘baby talk.’ In the meantime, be sure to catch up on my previous posts: When Are You Having a Baby?, There’s Something to That, and Some People Say the Darndest Things.