No matter where you go, you are a witness. In what you say, in how you say it. In what you do and how you do it.
We tend to underestimate our power. We think that power belongs to a celebrity or someone in a leadership position. While those in the limelight have more visibility, we each have power. It shows through our words and actions.
After the sudden death of my dad a few years ago, I was shocked and in great pain. He collapsed on our vacation, the night before my son was to move to college. Even though I gave my dad CPR, I couldn’t save him.
Many people surrounded us. They brought us food. They provided words of comfort. But one person stood out to me during that difficult time.
She was a friend who came and sat with me. She never said a word. She didn’t bring food or a card. She just showed up, looked deep in my eyes, and stayed with me.
Her calming presence helped me to open up. While all the other interactions were helpful, I realized that they were often about the other person offering comfort. My friend, the one who only sat with me, was the one who gave me the power to talk, to grieve, and to share my experience.
Now when difficulties arise in other people’s lives, I no longer worry about what to say or what to bring. I go right away. I show up. I look deeply into their eyes and sit with them. After a while, a conversation often develops. There’s great power in being present.
How are you a witness?
God, remind us to be mindful of our words and actions and the impact they have on everyone around us. Amen.