In this journey called life, there will be people who walk beside us and there will be times when we are called to walk beside others. No one should ever walk alone.
We may not think we are contributing much to those casual friendships, but when a crisis comes into their lives and you choose to walk beside them, it is a precious gift.
To walk beside someone means you are not leading or following, you are there to be gentle in the midst of their storm. They don't need your words and they may not want your hugs, but they want to know someone is walking with them without judgment or platitudes.
When my daughter, Carrin, was killed in a car wreck almost two years ago, a couple drove over three hours just to be there for us. They got a room across from ours at the hotel and she said, "We are across the hall. If you need us, call. If you need to be alone, we understand."
What a gift. I wasn't responsible for seeing to any of their needs. They were just available. It was a difficult three or four days away from home and we lacked for nothing. No one tried to fix what couldn't be fixed. I could cry, laugh over old memories and ride the roller-coaster of grief.
I learned more about how to minister to others by their gentle care for us than I learned in church or Bible school. I am a visual learner. I finally got it. Even though Ray had shown me for years what it meant.
Now I look for opportunities to walk with others. Some walks are shorter than others. Some are still going on. Some chose to sit alone and that's okay. It's their walk, not mine.
Who are you being called to walk with?