Listening in Silence

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I hate seeing the pain in friends’ eyes. Helpless I ache for them. Their experiences perhaps not something I’ve walked through yet. I wonder how I could endure their heart ache when now it seems as if my own will crumble for them. Their own pains seeping into my soul. At times an almost physical aching.

Then the moments where God sends that sensing. No contact to signal the need. Simply a nudging and name brought to mind.

Empathic with those held dearest.

Hours I sit listening to a friend, tears pouring as she reckons with the harsh reality of another stage in her mother’s illness.

What words can bring comfort? Answers?

Another’s discouragement bringing inner turmoil and loneliness. My tears spilling into sobs. How can my friend find the joy again?

I pray. Wondering if God tires of the redundant prayers.

Yet we are told,

pray without ceasing; (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

So I pray. Throughout each day I pray. And in the prayers He gives me a task.

“Silence,” He tells me. Not to be silent with the prayers. “Listen to them with silence,” He reminds me.

A difficult task for my personality. I want to help. To give words that heal.

“Not now,” He says. “It’s not time. Sit with them in the silence.”

 “A time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:7)

So I sit. Aching deeply for these friends in pain. As God teaches me to simply listen. To pray. That now is a time to be silent.

To give the gift of grace by being the friend who sits. The friend who listens in silence.