When Someone Grieves

When Someone Grieves


By Steve Goodier

We either have been, or will be, put in the position of comforting someone who is grieving. That is an important role played by good friends. The most common question I hear on such occasions is, "What should I say?" We want to help, but we feel helpless to make a difference in the face of such tragedy.

I often remember a story told by Joseph Bayly when I struggle to say the "right thing" to someone who is hurting. Mr. Bayly lost three children to death over the course of several years. He wrote a book called View From A Hearse, (Life-Journey Books, 1992) in which he talks about his grief. He says this about comforting those who grieve:

"I was sitting, torn by grief. Someone came and talked to me of God's dealings, of why it happened, of hope beyond the grave. He said things I knew were true. I was unmoved, except to wish he would go away. He finally did. Someone else came and sat beside me. He didn't talk. He didn't ask leading questions. He just sat with me for an hour or more, listened when I said something, answered briefly, prayed simply, left. I was moved. I was comforted. I hated to see him go."

I have found Joseph Bayly's experience to be excruciatingly typical. Both men wanted to help. Both men cared. But only one truly comforted. The difference was that one tried to make him feel better, while the other just let him feel. One tried to say the right things. The other listened. One told him it would be all right. The other shared his pain.

When put in the difficult position of comforting someone in emotional pain, sometimes what needs to be said can be said best with a soft touch or a listening ear. It may not seem like much, but it can be more effective than you may ever know.

About the author

Steve Goodier is a professional speaker, consultant and author of numerous books. Visit his site for more information, or to sign up for his FREE newsletter of Life, Love and Laughter at http://LifeSupportSystem.com.

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