“I’m here for you.” It’s the first thing you say; it feels like the right thing to say. The only thing you can’t go wrong with. And yet this promise is not to be taken lightly. How do we honour our words, if we don’t even realize their significance? How do we keep these promises, if we are always giving them so easily? Do you feel the weight of responsibility?
It starts with our words. What do you say when you want someone to be aware of your willingness to help? Before you speak, you must understand first that not everyone will let you help them. Helping people isn’t a right; it’s a privilege. This means you are not entitled to be useful to others, you can only try to be. Maybe you say you’re there for them. You say these words with the expectation that one day, when they are hurting and need someone, that they will remember you and come running. This place that you are meeting them, is not some halfway point. When people need you, they will be far. Sometimes so far gone they don’t know where they are.
We are uncomfortable with the pain and troubles of others. It’s human nature to want to help. Our understanding of help is offering a listening ear as an option, and leaving the choice up to them to return in the future. Having done your part, you feel better. But support requires more than that – helping someone through their difficulty is not as temporary as a single conversation.
I bet when you said you were always there for them, they were right beside you. You knew exactly where they were. Do you know where they are now? You said you’d be there for them, but think about it: if they don’t even know where that is, then how could you possibly know?
When you say I am here, you are saying we are walking together. It means I am on this path with you. It means I am close enough to see you, and close enough to hear you when your call is nothing but a whisper. Tell them you are here for them so they know you are close. Remember the weight of the words and honour them.