The Gift of Your Presence

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Comforting friends is more than giving them things. It’s giving them YOU.

May God’s grace and blessing be upon all who sincerely love our Lord Jesus Christ. —Ephesians 6:24 (TLB)

When my friend Dolores’s husband, Milt, died, I wanted to do something special for her. But what? Flowers? Casserole? I knew she’d get plenty of those. A plant? No, she lives in Florida but spends the summers in New York and shouldn’t have to worry about houseplants.

I went to the supermarket, wandering around the aisles tormented. What can I get her? I should be home baking something from scratch, I thought. I wheeled my grocery cart up and down the aisles. What? Finally, I grabbed a box of big fresh strawberries. Next, I tossed my two favorite kinds of chocolate candies into the cart. In the bakery, I thought about comfort foods and selected a long loaf of whole grain bread.

At home, I put the chocolates into two jars I’d hand-painted, arranged everything in a big bag, and wrote her a note. When I arrived at her house, I placed the bag on the kitchen counter as I was ushered into the living room.

After a few tearful moments of talking about Milt’s death after a long struggle with kidney disease, Dolores started telling heartfelt stories about him that included quite a few good laughs. Later, after good-bye hugs, I saw the bag on the kitchen counter, unopened, as I walked out the door.

I shouldn’t have worried about what to bring to my friend. My presence with Dolores and letting her share stories of her beloved husband meant much more to her than anything I could have put in that bag.

Father, help me to remember that comforting friends is more than giving them things. It’s giving them me. —Patricia Lorenz
Digging Deeper: Lk 6:31;2Cor1:3–5

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