Start With “Hello”

If you're reading this, there's a fairly good chance someone you know is dealing with some sort of personal challenge or misfortune. Maybe they're seriously sick or have a chronically sick kid. Maybe they've had some sort of personal calamity because of this weird weather of late. Maybe they've lost a job, or a loved one, or... whatever.

If you're over forty, the odds have upped a bit. If you're over fifty, pretty much a sure bet. If you're over sixty, it's just about a given. Probably also a pretty good chance that that someone has been you at some point or another.

If it is you, you probably have a pretty keen recollection of the folks who reached out with a visit or a card or a phone call. And... of those that didn't.

As a pastor and as an occasionally human being, I've often heard folks say, "I just don't know what to say." 

We're afraid we might say the wrong thing or say it the wrong way and it's certainly possible. Hardly any grieving child or parent or spouse or sibling or friend wants to be standing by a casket and have someone walk up and say, "Oh, I am SO glad that your loved one passed away! I think the world will be a much better place without them."

Not the way to go here, trust me. Also would suggest you avoid, "Oh, I know exactly how you feel about losing your mother. My cat died last month and I still haven't gotten over it!" Boo hoo hoo...

But aside from such guaranteed calamities as that, you're probably worrying too much. Having been in some of those situations from the losing side and in several more from the caring side, I will tell you that there are very few things that you can say that will hurt worse than this: not saying anything at all.

I really encourage you to take time to go visit that person. Cancer isn't contagious. Tornadoes aren't spread through personal contact. At least make a phone call if the person is physically able to carry on a conversation. Of course, if the family has requested "no personal contact," honor that. Send a card. Send a text. Send both.

The reason why I offer this encouragement is simple: otherwise, they're likely going to assume you don't care. And that can be crippling to someone already struggling with the loneliness of disease or disaster. It's not the eloquence of your words that makes a difference for them; it's the evidence of your concern.

So... don't know exactly what to say? Start with "Hello." Then let love and the Lord take it from there.

H. Arnett

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
This entry was posted in Christian Devotions, Christian Living, Death & Dying, Relationships, Spiritual Contemplation, suffering and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Start With “Hello”

  1. David G. Allen says:

    Start with “Hello…” is very helpful for me.

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