Join me in welcoming my friend Carolyn Larsen to the blog today. She loves to laugh, read good books, watch football games, meet friends for a cup of chai tea, watch old movie musicals, and encourage other women in their faith walk. She has spoken many words of encouragement into my life.
Not long ago I was talking with a friend, and I quietly mentioned that something was lying heavy on my heart. I didn’t tell her what it was. I hoped she would say, “Tell me about it” or “How can I pray for you?”
Instead she responded: “Oh, you don’t know what real problems are!”
Now, this woman is a kind, compassionate woman who truly does care about others, but in this particular moment . . . well, that didn’t come through. I walked away from that conversation feeling dismissed, uncared for, alone.
But I learned a couple of things that day.
First, everyone is dealing with something.
I know my friend had some pretty heavy things on her heart that day, too. (We had talked about them at length earlier.) Perhaps she couldn’t see beyond those things enough to have any empathy for me.
You know what?
That’s okay because I know her heart. She cares for me and if she knew that I left that conversation feeling dismissed, she would feel terrible.
What I realized that day is that sometimes I need to push my own cares aside just a little in order to show compassion to a friend, regardless of what is weighing on my own heart. Sure that’s hard sometimes, but it is important so that others know I do care about them, regardless of what is weighing on my own heart.
And, as I’ve discovered so many times, caring about someone else’s pain takes the focus off my own cares and actually may make my heart cares seem a bit lighter.
Second, friends don’t diss friends’ concerns.
Looking back at that conversation, I realize that my concerns and fears may NOT have been as big or serious as those my friend was dealing with, but they did still matter. They mattered to me.
And because I know I matter to my friend, I also know I’m not crazy to think that she should care enough to listen.
Now I know it is not my place to decide what’s worthy of someone else’s concern. I know I can’t micromanage my friend, but I can determine the kind of friend I want to be. I can decide that the next time I sit down for tea with a friend and she starts to talk about her concerns, I will care and not dismiss.
That is being a Storm Sister, right?
A Storm Sister listens to your heart and cares about your pain, worries, fears and stresses.
A Storm Sisters radiates compassion.
To be sure, a Storm Sister may not know what to say in a situation but the reality is that she doesn’t have to say anything. She can just give a compassionate hug, a listening ear, or even a casserole or pan of home-made something. Maybe all she needs to do is just sit for a while and just BE THERE FOR A FRIEND.
Compassionate, Storm Sister living—let’s do it together.
Carolyn Larsen is a best-selling author with more than 50 books in print for children and adults, including one of my favorites: The Little Girls Bible Storybook for Mothers and Daughters: http://www.amazon.com/Little-Girls-Storybook-Mothers-Daughters/dp/0801044073 You can read more about Carolyn on her website: http://www.carolynlarsen.com