Jesus tells us, “Love your neighbor,” and he does not add, “when you feel like it.”

Deanna Thompson is Professor of Religion at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota and has written a book about her journey with Stage IV breast cancer. The title of her book is Hoping for More: Having Cancer, Talking Faith, and Accepting Grace.

Jesus tells us, “Love your neighbor,” and he does not add
“when you feel like it.”

In her book Deanna talks about the importance of being there for a friend who is suffering. Following is one example she gives:

Deanna says,

“One friend finally visited for the first time about five months after my diagnosis, just as life was regaining a bit of normalcy. (Editor’s note: Up to this time Deanna had been very ill with radiation treatments and chemo.) She stood in our entryway, car idling in the driveway, and told me she had been thinking of me.

I appreciated the visit, but battled the voice in my heart that kept reminding me that this friend had not come to see me in five whole months. Just as I made the decision to be gracious and count the visit as a kind gesture, my friend pressed on, ‘And just so you know, I don’t ‘do’ Caring Bridge journal entries. I just wanted you to know.’

I stared at her. I thought, ‘You drop out of my life when cancer comes my way, and now you stop by to tell me that you’re not following my story?’”

‘Caring Bridge allows us to update others on how I’m doing,’ I responded, struggling to keep my voice calm. ‘Because of the site, we don’t have to spend our time telling the same story over and over again. It’s also been an incredible source of support for us, knowing that others have been praying for and thinking about us.’”

My friend could tell I was upset. She told me again she was thinking of me and headed back out to the car.”

Be there.  Even when you don’t know what to say or do.

I am sorry about your pain, Deanna. Here’s a painful truth: I confess I have also been guilty of not keeping in touch with special people who are suffering. I have made excuses, but the bottom line was I didn’t know what to say or do. So I told myself I was “too busy” or “another time.”

Forgive me, all the friends that I have ignored because it was uncomfortable. Forgive me God.

Be there. Even when you don’t know what to say or do.

Be there . . .even when you don’t feel like it. Be there even when you want to be somewhere else doing something else. . .be there.

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.


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