The possible favorite time to read on my Kindle™ is when I am waiting in line. Early this afternoon I was sitting (at least not standing) in line and took out my handy reading device. Because this handy gadget also marks the last place I read, the marked spot feel open to page 181 in Philip Yancey’s book, Where is God When it Hurts?” This book is well-researched and has so many illustrations that it has become a very slow, deliberate read for me. In fact, I have been reading the book on and off for about a year now. One hundred pages remain and now that I am on the homestretch, I am going to finish it. There are so many places to just stop and ponder that I keep stopping until I feel I should move on. Here is one of those places.
Yancey points out how important it is for people to just “be there” for others. Not to say the scholarly thing, the spiritual thing, or even anything, but to just be present. It reminded me of my good friend, Katie. When my mother was in her dying hours, Katie came and just sat with me. It was enough. Yancy states, “. . . no one offers the name of a philosopher when I ask the question, ‘Who helped you the most?’ Most often they answer by describing a quiet, unassuming person . . . someone who listened more than talked.”
I have no idea what my friend planned to do the day my daughter called and told Katie my mom was near death. Whatever it was, it waited. In fact, it waited for two days while Katie continued to minister to my family, not by talking. No, she cooked for us, cleaned up the kitchen, and cooked again. She was quietly there. Available. Quiet. Unassuming.
As much as Job’s “friends” are criticized for their undiscerning remarks to Job, those first seven days they only sat with Job. They didn’t talk. They were just there. They were available. For that, I commend them.
Who needs you to be quiet, available, just for right now? If you know of that situation, then I urge you to do your part. Do it graciously, quietly, and without any expectations.
All of those thoughts left me a little misty eyed while I was waiting for my name to be called and those thoughts linger still into the late afternoon. Thank you to Mr. Yancy for those words on page 181 and thank you, Katie, for your quiet presence that day now nearly five years ago.