Choir Notes

Giving Comfort
From Music and the Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell • Program 4356

The classic western film Shane depicts a tragic conflict between ranchers and farmers. In one scene, the distressed wife of a farmer, feeling a need for comfort in the troubled situation, runs to her husband’s arms and says, "Hold me. Don’t say anything. Just hold me—tight.” She didn’t need advice or even kind words, just the comfort and reassurance of her husband’s embrace.
Have you ever wanted to comfort a loved one, but you didn’t know how? Maybe you were afraid of overstepping your bounds or saying the wrong thing. Sometimes we don’t need to say anything at all. We simply need to be available. One person who recently lost her father observed, "My friends were there for me. It was great, because they just acted normal. I wasn’t ready to talk about my dad’s death, but I knew when I was ready they would be there to listen.”
Often the best way to give comfort is by offering a listening ear. More than anything, our friends who are suffering simply need to know that someone cares to listen—without judging or advising unless we’re asked to. They need a chance to sort out and make sense of their feelings by expressing them to a sympathetic listener.
Then, when we see that something we can do would be comforting, it’s often best just to do it. Many people who need help hesitate to ask for it. Knowing a young mother was ill, a neighbor brought over a casserole for the family’s dinner—without waiting to be asked. One good man shoveled snow from his neighbor’s driveway, knowing the older man would have difficulty doing it himself. Great comfort comes in knowing that someone is aware of us, loves us, and is willing to lend a hand.
We may think we don’t know how to appropriately comfort others in times of need. But we do know how to love and care. It requires no eloquence, no special skills or training to show love. When our friends in need sense our love, then they will say with the Psalmist, "This is my comfort in my affliction.”¹
1 Psalm 119:50.

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