Mary was in her 80's. She was sitting on the top of her stairs in her nightgown and housecoat. And she was crying.
I was sitting beside her. Quietly. Saying nothing. Just being there.
It was midnight. Her husband, Winn, was standing at the bottom of the stairs. He tightly gripped his beige hat with his aged, calloused hands. And he gazed down silently at the old, hardwood floor.
She was crying because someone just called to inform the old couple that their son had died in a motorcycle accident. Then a mutual friend called me and told me about it. So I went over to their house.
I did not have the words to say. But I did offer my presence. I just sat there on the stairs with Mary at midnight.
Eventually she got tired. Her husband put her to bed. Then he walked me to do the door and thanked me for coming over. I drove back to my house, climbed back into bed, and drifted off to sleep.
Not long after that, Mary told me this: "I'll never forget you sitting with me on the top of my stairs. That was what I needed. Just having someone there by my side was what helped me get through that moment."
Folks, this world is full of hurting people. There is a lot of pain out there. It's everywhere you look.
And what people need from you and me, more than anything else, is just to know we care. They need us to pull alongside them and quietly offer our presence. Nothing has to be said. Simply join them at their side.
What can you do for someone who is having a hard time? Be there. That's enough.
Just be there.