If we had only known
Hiding is not hard; wearing an “I’m okay” mask is easily done. It’s especially easy to fool each other when we rarely take time to truly know each other anyway.
Someone’s story ended today, only partially lived. I didn’t know his story just like I didn’t know my neighbor’s story a few years back when he too tragically decided that death would be easier than life.
I didn’t know because I didn’t ask.
My heart breaks for a family today. This kind of loss is especially hard to comfort because we just didn’t know. If I had known my neighbor’s story, I would have stopped by to talk more, to check in and say, “someone cares.”
But isn’t the caring in the asking?
Asking is not a comfortable or convenient thing to do. After all, we have our own lives to live, schedules to make, deadlines to meet, families to raise.
But Jesus asked. Didn’t he?
“What do you want me to do for you?” Matthew 20:32
How easy it is to just keep things on the surface, but there are hurting neighbors around us looking for answers, desperate for hope. Pain, at times, can have a grip on us so tight that getting the word “help” to even form on our lips is impossible. We may need someone to just ask, “are you okay?” Then we can manage to shake our head. That can be the beginning of a journey to hope and healing.
I can remember a time when I was struggling emotionally and all my husband had to do was ask, “are you okay?”
Just knowing someone cares enough to ask invites the possibility of hope into our souls.
Asking good questions can open a door to healing.
- would you like to talk?
- is there any thing I can do to help you?
- what would make your day better?
- are you hurting?
- what’s on your mind today?
- are you happy?
We are so used to hearing someone ask, “how are you?”, that we know that it is used more as a greeting instead of a real question. We just respond as expected, “Fine. How are you?” And we move on, still hurting, still depressed, still searching for answers and hope. Right?
Every Life is Precious
What if we stepped into our day looking for opportunities to speak life into each person we encounter? What if we actually went out of our way to search out those who have stepped back into the shadows? What if we sought the hurting out as Jesus did? The marginalized, ignored, the social outcasts, the weirdos?
Isn’t every life worth going out of our way to bring the message of Christ? Each life precious to the Father?
I have a friend who was once ready to take her own life. She was done, couldn’t see her way out. But as she struggled someone showed up at her door that night to ask her if she was okay. It was the hope she needed. Hope comes through asking.
Let’s show up at the door. Let’s ask the question.
I’m not saying that one question will turn things around for every person struggling with thoughts of suicide. A question may not reverse the struggles of mental illness. One question may come too late for some, but what if just knowing that one person really cares could turn things around for someone?
Let’s be the one. Let’s show up. Let’s ask the question.
We have to start somewhere. Look around. Pray and ask God to show you those around you who need the hope and love that is Jesus. Be ready to be uncomfortable and inconvenienced. Be ready to take time to listen.
“And his name will be the hope of all the world.” Matthew 12:21