Our summer was a carnival ride, a roller coaster or merry-go-round, always moving, up and down. Some days felt like the peak of that coaster, multiple trips across the country, exploring new places, spending time with family. Other days felt like the lowest low, the sickly feeling you get from riding too soon after heavy amusement park food — days of loneliness, feeling completely overwhelmed and utterly exhausted. As the summer came to a close, I escaped one evening into the sticky, hard to breathe humidity encasing our screen porch.
I needed a moment. A moment to process, a moment to be still, a moment to simply stare at the leaves on the trees fluttering in the barely there breeze. My mind seemed to hardly realize that it was supposed to be on a short sabbatical, its wonderings being categorized into the ever present to-do lists, even as my body tried to relax. I felt a thousand emotions, ranging from the depths of despair to thankfulness for nature and the balm it was attempting to be to my soul.
I was so weary. So tired of the everyday, the tasks of adulthood at that moment, beyond what I could comprehend.
The back door opened. My husband stepped onto the porch. Glancing briefly at me, he choose a spot on the love seat next to the recliner where I was curled up. And he sat. Quietly. Silently. Sitting in the moment with me. And there we remained for a moment or two. Just being. In the same room, but lost in worlds of thoughts all our own. The stillness of the moment such a welcome relief after the cacophony of the recent weeks. So we sat. He didn’t say a word until I pushed myself up, out of my chair and cuddled up to his side.
And then, “Everything ok, baby?”
“I’m overwhelmed…and so very tired.”
His hand wrapped around mine, and we sat. No words were necessary, he had lived the last months with me, he knew the to-do’s lists, the calendar commitments, and what the next weeks looked like. So he simply was with me in the moment. He sat in the silence with me.
As my bed enveloped me later that evening, I couldn’t help but reflect on how much that simple act of sitting, being, still and silent, revitalized my soul. The fatigue and stress were still there, but a peace also vied for a spot in my heart. Thankful, I wondered how many other weary souls could find some rest if they had someone to simply sit in the silence with them.
So often, especially recently, the world we live in is so loud, a myriad of voices, places, things, and current events war for our attention. We’re never disconnected if we don’t choose purposefully to be, and the constant stimulation is overwhelming. It’s hard to find that silence, much less to find someone to sit in it with us. Our tendency as humans is to want to fix it all, to have an opinion, solution, argument, theory, or personal anecdote to save the day.
As a nurse, “fixing” is my job, so I fight this response daily. But upon reflection, in the times of distress in my life, the most healing times were just like the time on my screen porch with my husband, they were when someone simply sat with me. Offered their presence, their camaraderie, their shoulder to support me. There will be times when words are necessary, but so many times, your presence, your willingness to simply be speaks more than thousands of the most beautiful words from the most prolific writers.
Our sitting in the silence with others reminds me of the One who is always there, in the crazy and the still, in the most trying and the most triumphant — our Savior, Jesus Christ. He knows the value of someone who will sit in the silence with us, but He also promises to always be with us, no matter the circumstances, no matter your relationship status, no matter the availability of someone to physically sit next to you. While we as humans can fail, He never does, and He longs for a place in your life, your heart, and in your quiet moments.
Whether you are in the place where you need someone to sit in the silence beside you or if you’re in a season where you can sit beside someone, let’s encourage each other by entering into the most difficult times of each other’s lives by simply sitting in the silence next to a friend in need.