Sunday, August 29, 2010

"We're human beings, not human doings" -Michael Homan

"And he comes to the disciples, and finds them asleep, and said to Peter, What, could you not watch with me one hour?" (Matthew 26:40, American King James Version)

A part of our experience at orientation is Small Group Reflection time. My group has really developed a strong bond, communicates well, and has served as excellent witnesses for each other during this time. One of the girls in my small group is struggling with the very recent death of her mother. I kept wondering how can I "be" there for her. In other situations, other times my friends or family have been bereaving, I said something along these lines: "I'm here for you. I'm praying for you. Let me know if there's anything I can do."
After having listened to Lauren talk about the death of her mother, and her method of handling it, I realized something. I was doing it all wrong. It isn't about doing at all- that was my first mistake. I really just need to remind myself of when Christ was suffering, and after he finished praying the night before is death, he found his disciples asleep next to him. He was frustrated that they could not bear witness for just one night. They were not available in his moment of need. The disciples should have stayed awake, and been together with Christ moments before his resurrection.
It wasn't a matter about having the wrong things to say, it was that I wasn't a presence when I should have been. Instead of wondering what I could and can do, I need to be a presence, offer companionship.
When there is a breaking moment, a moment of struggles, sometimes just a shoulder to cry on, or a simple hug is the best medicine. Just to be together. Someone to sit and pray with.

I remember a few years ago, when I was working as youth director at First Presbyterian Church of McKinney (FPC). It was January, and I had just returned from a January term abroad. I was getting back in the swing of school and work. A friend had passed away while I was abroad, and I had felt so helpless to all of those affected because I wasn't there. At FPC, a part of the Sunday service is dedicated to prayers of the people. The blessing of the intimate congregation is that prayers were lifted verbally during the service. I lifted prayers for my friend, and for those affected by his death. I broke down. In front of my entire congregation.

Reverend Blacklock walked over to me and put his hand on my shoulder. He joined the congregation together for an impromptu moment of praye. In that moment, with FPC as my witness in my faith journey, I felt so incredibly supported. The congregation, and in particular, John, had been there for me.

As I begin to begin this journey, I keep wondering what I'll be doing. As I just recently received my official title and work description- An Outreach & Communications Delegate for BorderLinks. I'm pretty excited about the work, the action, and the excitement concerning the situation. But this relationship with Lauren, and bearing witness to her own struggle, and wondering what I can do, remind me that that shouldn't be my primary approach to the experience. I need to remember her struggle and suffering, and Jesus' struggle and suffering, and remember to be a witness to the situation first. The relationships are primary and the rest will come. Without honest interpersonal interaction, the rest doesn't matter anyways.

In reference to the quote in the title- Michael Homan is the pastor at Lauren's church at school.

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