In some things it is easy to figure out how to show love – David moved into his first apartment last weekend, and I could show up to unpack the kitchen and buy him a starter set of groceries. It’s something solid you can do, you can point to, it’s corporal act of kindness.
You can knit for someone, send flowers, pop a “hey, I’m thinking of you today” card in the mail. You can bring a meal, offer to help with housework. Sometimes you can just show up and give them the world’s biggest hug.
And if you are at all like me – a doer, this is your preference.
I use words – I use words always – telling people that I care, what I value and admire about them. I don’t use those words as much or as often as I want, but I am trying. There is still a residual stigma from my childhood – my parents used words that did not match their actions and I still believe what you do is more important than what you say.
So what happens when you cannot do? There are the times that I can’t do a damned thing. The person is too far away, the hurt is so big that no amount of groceries or knitting will do anything. Times when I cannot think of a single thing to do. Times when there is nothing to do.
I pray. I pray for people even when I do things, but I especially pray for those when I can’t do anything. I’m not sure what it says about my faith that I turn to my most fervent prayers when *I* cannot help the situation, but there you have it.
A colleague and friend is in an absolute garbage dump of a situation. There is literally nothing I can do about this other than to tell her that she will make it through and that she is not alone in the mean time – I am only a phone call or an email away.
I find myself walking in a city two provinces away from her, thinking and praying. It seems so little, such faint hope, such a small amount of comfort. It seems like no immediate help at all, if I am honest.
And sometimes, as I walk along, as I lay in bed before I fall asleep, reciting the daily office and praying for others, I grumpily ask God what it is that I am doing and why I bother.
And He is often silent. Still, I keep on. Mostly because when I cannot do anything else, I can still do this. It may not be much, but it is something and when it is the only something I can give, it must be better than nothing at all.
I believe, you know. That when I can’t do anything else, I can hold you up to God, the Universe or what ever you conceive the divine to be, and I can ask that deity to spare a thought for you, to spare a bit of extra care and concern, to drop some kindness, some gentleness, some mercy and some respite into your life.