Just be there…

October 9, 2015

“Sometimes we need someone to be there.  Not to fix anything or do anything in particular, but just to let us feel that we are cared for and supported.”  (From a picture of Charlie and Snoopy) That little saying was forwarded to me by Pastor Jack Freed from Jack’s Winning Words. Jack is a big fan of the Peanuts cartoons, assnoopy and bird am I.

For me, today’s little saying conjures up memories of snuggling on the couch in from of a fire on a cold winter night. No words are needed and there is nothing wrong or needing fixing; however, just being there together makes us both feel that all is right with the world. There are just times when having your life mate at your side or in your arms provides a very warm feeling of completeness and contentment. I think that is what Charles Schultz was thinking about when he wrote that little saying in the Peanuts cartoon.

What memories do you have of those kinds of moments? For some it might involve memories of being cradled in our mother’s arms. For others it might be time spent with a nest friend or a loved one. Whatever the moment, cherish those feelings and save them to bring up again and again as needed, when things aren’t going as we would like.

caregiver handsSometimes we play the role of the person who is there to provide the feeling of comfort and safety. Cherish that also. It is one of the most important roles that you will have in life. Caring and supporting others, especially in moments of need is a privilege and an honor, which we should take seriously. There is vulnerability and trust on the part of the person that you are supporting that must be protected and honored. They have let you into their emotional inner-circle, which is a place that few probably get to see. Be kind. Be gentle. Be respectful. Be the person that they believe you to be and play your role, even if it is just sitting there in silence and holding them. Don’t try to fix everything , just be there for them.

Have a great and caring day.

Be there for someone today

November 1, 2014

As seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Be kind.  Remember every one of you is fighting a battle.  Everybody’s lonesome.”  (Marion Parker)

At first, I did not get this quote. Then I thought about it and it is true that even the most popular people often have secrets that they don’t share and with which they struggle in lonely isolation. Most of the world was shocked recently when Robin Williams took his own life. Here was a guy that most of us probably thought had it all – popularity, success, money, al l of the things that we believe lead to happiness – yet he struggled with depression and eventually lost his personal battle and committed suicide. He was lonesome in that battle.

I’m sure that there may have been a few close friends of Robin Williams who knew about his struggles, but perhaps he shut them out or they just weren’t there when he needed them the most. Many of us are caringthe same way. There are people with whom we may have shared our fears or concerns or anxieties. They wanted to help, but we pushed them away; refusing their help. Why? That’s one of the hallmarks of depressed behavior – the need/desire to be left alone. It is something that true friends need to fight their way through. They need to make sure that we are not alone and not allowed to feel alone in our fight. Everybody does not have to be lonesome.

If you know of someone that you care about who is struggling with a personal demon, the best thing that you can do for them is to make sure that they are not alone in that fight. Be there for them. Make them share it with you. Provide support and comfort or just lend a shoulder to cry upon. “You are not alone” is perhaps the best thing that you can say to them. Make sure that they do not retreat into a shell of loneliness. That only leads to despair and beyond.

It may be hard sometimes to force yourself into that person’s life and you may initially encounter anger and heavy pushback from them. Don’t let them discourage you from doing the right thing; and that is not leaving them alone to wallow in self-pity. You may have to become very pushy yourself, in order to break through that defense; but, keep at it until they either seek the help that you are encouraging them to get or completely break down and share their pain with you. That is the cathartic moment that is necessary to begin the healing process.

listeningOnce they realize that they are not alone; that you won’t leave them alone; they can begin to deal with the issues outside of just their own mind. Talking things out can make all of the difference. Just hearing someone else say “It’s OK. Let it out. You’ll be OK” can make all of the difference. In fact, just hearing themselves, get it out to someone else does wonders. It takes the huge burden of hiding the pain off their shoulders.

When you were a child you’d run to Momma with your pain and she would make it all better with a kiss and a hug and maybe a Band-Aid for your boo-boo. As adults we need to be able to turn to our loved ones or friend for that hug and Band-Aid for our emotional boo-boos. That’s what friends are for, if we allow them to play the role. True friends make us let them play that role.

So, there are two bottom-line thoughts here. One is to not to become lonesome by trying to hold girls huggingeverything in; but, rather to seek out a friend or loved one to share the pain with. The second is to aggressively be that friend who is there for others, so that they can’t become lonesome in their misery. I’ll end today on this note –

“Never underestimate the difference YOU can make in the lives of others. Step forward, reach out and help. This week reach to someone that might need a lift”

― Pablo

Three little words that can change your life… I’ll be there. (11 of ?)

April 1, 2014

Sometimes the simplest little things can have big impact on our lives. In this series of posts I examine very short sentences (each just three words long) that can make a difference in your life. If you have a three word sentence that changed your life somehow, share it with me and I will share it with the world.

Today’s little three word sentence is also the title of a famous hit song by the Jackson 5. You can watch a performance of that song by the Jackson 5 by clicking here. To view the lyrics to that song click here.

The Jackson 5 song combines a bit of unrequited love with a pledge of friendship and support. Let me focus first upon the latter – the friendship aspect.

Many of us had best friends in our youth to whom we have made a similar pledge – whatever happens, you can count on me to be there for you. We often drift away from those childhood
friends and that pledge is soon forgotten. Sometimes you hear of people who have remainedbest friends best friends throughout their lives, often it is in the context of a news story about some extraordinary thing that one has done for the other – donating an organ, for instance. Sometimes it is just a story about the longevity of the friendship, with many incidents usually related about being there for each other in times of need. They were there.

In marriages, one of the cornerstones is the commitment that both parties make to be there for each other through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, in the good times and the bad. This pledge to be there is especially important in the bad times and in the times of sickness. When bad things happen, like the death of a relative or maybe even a child, it is the strength of the partner who is there with us that sometimes is the main thing that gets us old coouplethrough it. When sickness hits, especially the really serious kinds like cancer or a stroke, it is the support of the partner/caregiver that we depend upon. It is certainly important to have the support of others and to have faith to give you strength, but nothing quite replaces having that one special person around who has promised to be there when you need them. They are there.

And, what of that person; the one who has said, “I’ll be there”? There is little in life that can provide such a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as being there for your loved one in a time of need. The tasks that you perform may seem mundane, but the fact that you are supporting and helping your partner get through something that they cannot manage by themselves  give them special meaning. Changing a dressing or helping your partner get bathed or dressed doesn’t make the headlines, but it can make a big difference in their day.caring
Especially poignant are the stories of the life partner helping the mate who can’t even remember his/her name any more. They were there and they feel great about it.

It’s relatively easy when you are standing at the alter dressed to the nines on a very happy day to pledge that you’ll be there. The test is when you’re standing beside the hospital bed, still dressed in yesterday’s clothes holding on to an unresponsive hand and whispering “I’m here. I love you” to someone that you’re not sure can even hear you. Keep trying to get through to let them know that you are there and that you will be there no matter how long or what it takes. There is something in that little squeeze of recognition on your hand that will make it all worthwhile. You were there.