Offering Silent PresenceNew Every Morning | September 14, 2021
Sharing the pain of another person is a deeply humbling task, in large part because there are simply no words that can make the pain go away. When the people we love pour out the woundedness of their hearts before us, our love and empathy—and our egos—yearn to respond with words of comfort, words that can make sense of it all. But, as those who have known deep pain can witness, words cannot
approach the place of suffering. They cannot stem the flow of anguish and grief. They are powerless. They are as ineffectual as using stones to dam a spring: the water will find some way to the surface.
—Charles A. Parker, in Compassion: Thoughts on Cultivating a Good Heart, compiled and introduced by Amy Lyles Wilson (Fresh Air Books, 2008)
Who has offered you the gift of silent presence when words couldn’t reach your suffering? Join the conversation.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.
—Romans 8:26 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
With my eyes, I choose to see with compassion. With my hands, I choose to give and touch with compassion. With my feet, I choose to go where I can deliver compassion. With my heart, I choose to love with great compassion.
(Pause for a minute of silence and imagine how you can show compassion today.)
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
The Upper Room’s RESILIENCE: Healing Practices for Mind, Body, and Spirit is just around the corner, September 30-October 2, 2021. This online event will be a time of reflection and interaction, and an introduction to spiritual tools that you can use in your own healing journey or the healing journey through which you lead others. Register today.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.
The most memorable time that this happened to me was when Soo Ok passed away. The leader of the small group came first, she was followed by other members of the small group later that morning, and then by the pastor’s wife and pastor. At the time I was not so aware of the power of this activity, but I have come to understand and believe it is true. I turned to God for comfort, consolation and received it. The memory of Soo Ok’s passing remains, but the pain has been greatly eased. In tough times PRESENCE outweighs and provides more comfort than WORDS. The day of remembrance is 2 months and 3 days away. This year Soo Ok will be gone longer than we were together.
Thankful for wonderful weather, fall is in the air, some leaves have changed, no frost yet, and the profusion of color is yet to come. Mums blossom.
Prayers for Roger, Jill, Larry, and Becky; Julie and Megan, Ally & David, Lou and her children.
Quite a gathering last night with author Brian McClaren, two bishops, and people from all over the New England Conference of the UMC as Faith After Doubt was presented and discussed. Very thankful for the deep and wide ranging research done by Brian. While he’s not a Methodist, he surely understands Methodism and his book, IMHO reflects much of what I believe as a Methodist Christian. With the current conundrum over homosexuality, his book was helpful and solidifies my belief in inclusion since love is the core of Christianity.,
Blessings to you all. Thank You, Lord.
The previous pastor of my church sat with me in compassionate silence after my father died 22 years ago. It is hard to believe my Dad has been gone for so long.
Silence is often awkward for people but silent support is treasured.
Prayers for all here at the UR – I agree Robert that love is truly the core of Christianity. It sound as if you and Erich are doing better and progress is being made- So glad that Julie and her daughter also have over come the hurt that Julie experienced a few days ago. Jill and her sister have come along way and Allie and David have overcome the obstacles presented by the ex wife. Hopefully compassion and love prevail in our lives.
My children are all doing well currently- the youngest has adjusted to a new routine and I will say is doing very well to date. There are always challenges and obstacles along the journey but if we have faith God sees us through even the most difficult times. I am looking forward to a weekend get away with two friends – a respite from challenging work times in which I have never worked harder. Looking forward to some much needed r and r.
Blessings and love to you all today and everyday.
I have been conditioned my entire life to not share or show emotions. No one cares and no one wants to be burdened by me and my pain.
Thank you for your kind words. Lou, Megan and I reconciled the next day. I have shown her that we should not allow hurt and pain to create a problem in relationships. They should be shared and resolved. I explained my problems, what I heard and how it made me feel and what I felt about the tatoo and why. We talked and she realized that it was not the actual tatoo but other issues that upst me. Anyway, it was resolved immediately with no hurt feelings on either side. However, things with h are still contentious and so strife and struggle still persist.
Prayers for Ally and David, for improved health and an approved disability application, prayers for Jill and her students, for safety and health and for Roger to have a more settled belly, prayers for Lou to enjoy a weekend with friends safely and fully, prayers for Robert as he remembers Soo Ok and honors her memory, prayers for Marti and her staff. Thank you for your prayers and kind words and may God bless all who visit here.
The best example of this is my friend from my tennis team – who listened well, invited me to her church and into her small group – and has been a treasured friend ever since. She accompanied me to the remembrance service where my mom was mentioned. She also sat with me the evening of my colleague’s Celebration of Life service. She also came over the morning after mom passed – the first person to be with me outside of my family. Her humility and compassion, along with her match empathy are an encouragement and model for me as I seek an opportunity to accompany someone on their pain journey.
One of the couples whom my parents used to play bridge with invited dad and a widow over for dinner last night and cards. Dad was caught off guard, I believe, that the other lady was there. He said he didn’t know if there was matchmaking going on or not. He didn’t seem offended, I am not quite sure where he is at with it. He and my sister were going to visit his sister 2 hours away today. I am anxious to talk to Becky – and hear all that he had to say. My friend and I have talked about this. She said she doubts my dad would search out another lady. But if the lady were to seek him out – she could see him going out to dinner with her or what not. My sister and I would love for him to find a lady friend – he needs companionship. And I would want someone to be able to appreciate and demonstrate appreciation for what a great guy he is. Mom did – to whatever extent she was able. But she could also be critical and selfish. How I would love for dad to have a lady who listened well, and took an interest in what he enjoys.
Roger survived the long day yesterday, as I was gone more than 12 hours with open house last night at school. He seemed fine and ate well last night and this morning. Thankfully I am home right after school today.