“We can follow the early example of Job’s friends and be willing to listen quietly. We can give our loved ones and ourselves time, patience, and loving acceptance. We may need more than seven days, and many of us do not respond well to being pushed to talk before we are ready. Our healing paths often are long, and there is pain that lasts a lifetime. Allow others—allow yourself—to wrestle with tough questions and move through the process at a manageable pace. We can all move through our pain with more comfort in each other’s silent, supportive presence.” -p.78, Revealed: What the Bible Can Teach You About Yourself
Early on in my training as a psychologist, I felt compelled to come into each session equipped with my newly acquired toolbox of interventions. I explored complex theoretical explanations for behavior, thoughts, and emotions. But I loved a good, straightforward technique or homework assignment that would, I believed, bring my client one step forward toward greater healing.
There’s a place for each of those techniques and interventions. But I’ve learned that a silent, supportive presence can also go a long way toward facilitating another’s healing process. On my own journey of healing, the memories that stand out most are not memories of a particular supervisor, therapist, or friend using a creative helping strategy. Instead, I remember distinct moments in particular dorm rooms, restaurants, living rooms, offices, and coffee shops. I remember the presence of the people who listened. Rather than offering anxious advice, they nodded, or teared up, or just silently conveyed that they understood fully what it meant to experience pain.
Look for an opportunity this week to be a silent, supportive presence for someone. Instead of seeking an explanation for pain, just be present with someone. Consider which people in your life are emotionally well-equipped enough to do the same for you. We all need this healing exchange of silent support at some point along the way.
Or listen to the audiobook version of Revealed on Audible!