It’s possible to stand frozen at the corner of good intentions and helpful action.
I’ve done it dozens of times.
And every time I’ve allowed myself to swallow “but I don’t know what to do” and done nothing I’ve regretted it.
Every. Single. Time.
So I’m here to tell you that when you get that urge, feel that itch, hear that still, small voice that says, “DO something“, then do it.
You may already have a good idea of what it is you need to do, but in case you don’t know exactly how to make a difference in the life of a heart hanging on by a thread, here are some things to get you started:
- Text, message or write. Sometimes a phone call is too hard for a weepy friend to answer. Better to send something that she can read and answer when she is able to talk. You can always ask, “Can I call you? I really want to hear your voice.”
- Deliver a meal or send a restaurant gift card. Sometimes daily chores are overwhelming and having supper already decided often gives a little breathing room to a heart already struggling to breathe.
- Offer to tag along. Go with your friend to that required event or necessary appointment and be a safe space in the crowd, a buffer against too many unwanted questions.
- Send flowers or a plant or almost anything sweet and unexpected. There is something magical about the doorbell ringing and a beautiful surprise offered on the other side.
- In the case of a grieving friend, photos of her loved one are always a wonderful gift. In the age of digital everything, taking time to print and frame one or two is really special.
- Clean the house. When things are cluttered, dirty and messy, it reinforces a sense of futility. Sometimes waking to a tidy space makes all the difference in whether a heart has the energy to get out of bed and start the day.
- Run errands. Things that are easy for most people can be overwhelming for a hurting heart. Pick up the dry cleaning, buy stamps, grab some bread and milk. Anything that can save extra stops on the way home from work.
- Make a care package. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. If you know the person well, include small things that show you are thinking specifically about THEM. A new journal, a pretty pen, a puzzle booklet, tea bags or anything that they might like will encourage a heart.
- Take the kids where they need to go or just take them out for a fun time. Parents often bear the burden of their own struggle and also the burden of knowing that same struggle is hurting their kids. Doing some of the heavy lifting of getting children where they need to go helps so much.
- Offer quiet companionship. Just come over and sit with your sad or hurting friend. If she chooses to talk, then listen. But don’t feel you must fill the empty air with words. Often silent support does more for a heart than all the sappy sentiments we like to toss at people when they are upset.
- “Like” their social media posts. You’d be surprised at how isolated a heart might feel in this age of hyper-connectivity. If your hurting friend is bold enough to admit it publicly, then let her know you see that, affirm it and are not offended by the admission. Sure it can be hard to hear the same sad song over and over but if it’s hard for you-and you can walk away or shut it down-how hard do you imagine it is for the person who cannot get away from the reality of living it?
Don’t ignore that voice that says, “Do something”.
Showing up and choosing to walk with a hurting heart can make the difference between a person giving up or going on.
In the end, love is what we DO and not simply what we SAY.