To mourn with those that mourn - a call for help
Henry B. Eyring has quoted on several occasions some insightful words a friend and mentor shared with him in his younger years: “When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time.”
I don’t think there is a human alive on earth today who has been exempt from heartache. It is a vital part of our mortal existence, and it provides opportunity for growth and reliance on God. It can also provide deep and anguishing sorrow and loneliness.
When someone is hurting, our instinct invites us to mourn with those that mourn (Romans 12:15), and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. For some of us, this comes naturally, and we seem to instinctively know how to meet the needs of those who are suffering. These beautiful souls are the ones who show up with just the right words at just the right time in just the right place.
For some of the rest of us, helping others can be a more difficult task. This can be because we are afraid of inadvertently causing offense. It can be because we feel inadequate in our own capacity to deal with grief. It may be that we have not been raised in an environment where service was the norm and we simply do not know where to start.
Some of us may reason with ourselves that if the one who is suffering needed help, he or she would reach out, leading to the oft uttered phrase; “Let me know what I can do to help!” While this phrase is well-intentioned, it often does not have the most optimal results, and probably isn’t very helpful.
When someone is struggling deeply, they do not have the emotional or mental capacity to be able to figure out what they need, much less to allow themselves the vulnerability of reaching out to others for help.
During a recent conversation with a friend who is going through one of these difficult times, I asked her what acts of service had been most beneficial to her. Her answers surprised me. They ranged from “receiving an encouraging text message” to “organizing a prayer group on my behalf” to “dropping everything and driving across the country and mowing my lawn.”
I left this conversation in awe of how unprepared I felt in dealing with the struggles of others. I do not believe that I am alone in this. I also know that there have been millions of experiences that people have had with acts of service.
Because of this, I want to reach out into this wonderful world to collect the ideas and experiences that people have had while being led and directed in the service of others. With this information, I would like to create a resource to help those who are suffering and those who have a desire to help those who are hurting.
In order to achieve this, I will be reaching out in the digital and physical world over the next couple of weeks, asking questions and prompts in order to compile a complete and exhaustive resource of advice, tips, and ideas to help those who are in need of some extra love and assistance. I would be immensely grateful if you could comment on or get in contact with me to share your own insights on this matter from both perspectives: the one being served, and the one receiving service. I would also like to ask you to pass this request on to others who may have some insights that could benefit others.
Thank you in advance for your help with this project. I feel truly blessed and honored to have so many wonderful people who are a part of my life.