I have a list of names.
A list of people who I will never forget.
They are the people that came by our side in the midst of our many trials with Griffin and his heart surgeries.
They were the kind of people who dropped what they were doing and came by our side. They baked cookies, brought books, dropped off movies, delivered food, handed us gift cards, and most importantly they brought themselves.
In that season I discovered a very valuable lesson.
It was the power of presence.
I have to admit I have always had a really hard time when others are going through difficult times. Whether it's mourning the loss of a loved one, medical issues, or other trials. I would usually not know what to do and then do nothing. I eventually began to tell the them the same thing every time "Let me know if you need anything." This seems like the right thing to say but as someone who has gone through difficulties, you wouldn't usually go back and say, "Here are the five ways you can help me right now." Your brain isn't functioning in practical, logical ways in those moments. You don't have a framework for those details, all you care about is the issue at hand.
That's why the power of presence is so powerful. Instead of feeling bad from a distance I have learned that the best thing to do with those who are close to you is to drop whatever you are doing and just be with those people. I will never forget the individuals who came and just sat with us. Talked with us. Prayed with us.
Donny and Kristi Vanker were two of those people that displayed the power of presence to us. So when we heard of the issues with their son Hudson I called Donny and told him we would like to come watch their kids and their dog so they could focus on being in the hospital and taking care of Hudson. Our kids all love each other more than anything so I knew it would be a great distraction for the other siblings and it would help relief a little stress for Donny and Kristi.
If I had said, "Let us know if you need anything," they probably wouldn't have asked us to pack up our family and drive up four hours to Michigan to be with their family.
We didn't do anything fancy. We didn't even bring them anything. We just brought ourselves.
The power of presence goes a long way. When someone you love is hurting, drop what your doing and be with them.
"Love doesn't just talk about doing something, love does it."