When We Don't Have the Words


"I wish I knew what to tell you." I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say this, or something like this, to me. It's usually happened during times I was with a friend and carrying a heavy burden.

These friends would sit across the table from me, or next to me on the couch or in the car, or over the phone. They'd say different versions of the same sentiment:

"I don't have any great advice for you."

"I'm sorry I don't have anything better to say to you."

"I don't have any answers for you."

"I don't think there's anything I can tell you to make this better."

Every time, I'd look at them, smile, and say, "I know. And I didn't expect you to."

When I look back on those times, it's not some sage advice, some powerful maxim, some quotable proverb that I remember or appreciate.

It was simply that friend's presence.

It was that they were there with me, they had taken the time to hear me and see my pain. That made all the difference in the world. I didn't need anything more from them. I didn't need them to bear the responsibility of shining a bright light with the perfect words. Simply sitting with me kept the darkness at bay.

So don't feel bad when you're sitting there with a friend who's going through stuff and you don't have all the right words to say.

The fact that you're sitting there is already enough.


Flickr photo ©2010 ...storrao...