When my co-author Ginger Jurries and I were conducting research for our book Compassionate Congregation, we interviewed people who had suffered a life crisis to find out: what did people say or do that was helpful? Following are the interviewees’ suggestions in their own words. These 15 special spirit lifters are useful in so many situations to help you Care Well for others. See what you think!
- A friend typed my favorite Bible verses in large print on her computer. I posted one verse in each room of my home, so that when I walked into a room I had something positive to read and think about. Ask the person for their favorite verses or use my favorites: Proverbs 3:5; Psalm 91:4; Psalm 115:1; Isiah 49:15,16; Jeremiah 29:11-14.
- Visits are treasured, but it is best to call me before you visit to arrange the best time.
- From a woman’s perspective: Encourage your spouse to come over to visit my husband. How happy I am when I hear my husband laughing with a friend as they eat popcorn and “coach” a college or pro football game.
- Watch a television program or a streaming service movie with me. This gives me the satisfaction of enjoying your company without the responsibility of entertaining you.
- If you have been with me during a difficult time, please, before parting, make a date to get together again. It offers me another planned time when I know someone will listen and care. It helps relieve the threat of desperation.
- I need to laugh. There is such healing in laughter. So tell me a joke or tell me about something funny that happened to you. Or send me a text or an email of a funny cartoon.
- Send me one note a week or call me once a week for a couple of months. It’s the friends who keep visiting, calling and sending notes who give me hope for the future and courage to work toward it.
- Give me a playlist or link to YouTube with music that has been especially soothing or inspiring to you.
- Allow me to feel sad. One of the most difficult problems of serious illness is that everyone wants to encourage the patient. However, sometimes having a good cry with a friend allows the tension to escape. You encourage me by letting me talk about my feelings.
- I don’t remember what words people said to me during the first weeks after the death of my young son, but I do remember those who held my hand, patted my shoulder, and hugged me. Never underestimate the power of a touch.
- Call daily to check on me, especially during a hard time.
- Be the kind of caregiver who visits, calls, or sends a note or flowers each year on the date when my loved one died. What a loving gift to know that someone else remembers too!
- Ask me what food I crave today. One day I requested pizza, another—a turtle sundae. Each made my day! (As an added bonus, my friend stayed and ate with me.)
- If you have been with me during a crisis follow up your visit with a note (or text) of reassurance that you value me (especially when I have shared very angry, hurtful or painful things with you.)
- Say, “I love you. I care.”
Drop me a line in the comments section: what has someone said or done for you when you were suffering? If you want more ideas like these, check out our free PDF download e-book 122+ Ways to Care Well.