Deep Thoughts by Henri Nouwen

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” (Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey)

If you’ve ever read the book of Job, then you know that the best thing his friends ever did was to come sit in silence with him in his grief. The mistakes started when they opened their mouths and tried to make sense of Job’s predicament. If they’d kept their big mouths shut, they’d all have been a lot better off.

When we think about the kind of friends we want, that’s a clue as to what kind of friends we should be. People don’t need your wisdom and your expertise and much as they need your presence. As the old saying goes, they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Sometimes, just being there is enough.

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