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A Comforter in Shoes
Photo: Micha Sankowski
"Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15).

I discovered him a bit apart from the rest of the picnickers. His head was bent over his dimpled hands, which were covered with at least a half dozen butterflies clinging to his fingers. Eagerly we rejoined the rest so he could show his mother this marvel! A few months later those same small hands were no longer dimpled, but scarred with needle pricks in search of good veins. His luxuriant hair was thin and strawlike, and in a short time he was gone—a victim of leukemia.

Meg, his mother and my dear friend, was devastated. What could be said or done for her that would assuage her grief? Flowers? A careful note in a card? Nothing seemed adequate. We all tried to keep her busy so she wouldn’t cry.

Meg stopped by my house unexpectedly one afternoon while my mother was visiting me. I had a quick errand to run and left the two together until I could get back. Upon my return, somewhat later than I had hoped, I found my friend in my mother’s arms, both their faces streaked with tears. They hadn’t needed me. Meg picked up her bag, smiled through her tears, and said, “I’ve got to go.” She left the room with a more buoyant step than when she came.

Cared Enough to Listen

A few years later, Meg asked me, “Remember when I was with your mother that afternoon after Randy’s death? That was the first time anyone had let me talk about him—about how precious and special he was, about his illness, his death, the giving up, the letting go. She let me unload all my grief and heartbreak. Your mother cared enough about me to listen! I’ll never forget it!”

Why could I not have been so sensitive to her needs? Perhaps I feared personal suffering too much to let myself be vulnerable to her woe.

The comforting work that my mother performed that day was similar to that of the Holy Spirit—who is often referred to as the Comforter. God’s Spirit isn’t busy doing comforting things for us or giving comforting information. He’s just there—and the healing comes as we share what’s on our heart, like Meg shared with my mother. In a way, my mother was like God’s Spirit in shoes. I want to be like that, too.

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for being there for me. Help me to be there for others.

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By Rose Nell Brandt. Excerpted from Fit Forever, compiled by Kay Kuzma, copyright © 2005 by Review & Herald Publishing. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW LIVING TRANSLATION © 1996.

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