Often people say things like, “I understand what you’re going through” in an attempt to ease the suffering of a person going through an extremely challenging time or the loss of a loved one. Well-intentioned as that statement might be we really do not know or understand what another person’s experience is. True, you lost your brother and I did too but what you’re going through is truly unique to you just the same way it is for me.
Because suffering is part of the human experience, all of us will have our share of it as long as we are on earth. In our attempts to console someone, perhaps it is best to simply be there, hold space for them, and remain silent. When people are hurting, the last thing they need is to hear are platitudes stating that their physical pain will be over soon, that trouble is only temporary, or that their loved one is in a better place. Remember the story of Job? Looking at the situation, when did he receive the most comfort from his friends? If words are meant to be shared, less is more. Being an instrument or part of someone else’s healing can be beneficial if we are sensitive and thoughtful. I am learning to do this; how about you? Comments welcomed as always.