It’s hard to know how to support a friend who is grieving, but it’s a priceless skill / attribute. Some people just are naturally know what to say, but for the rest of us, it can be learned. If you don’t know what to say, just stay silent but be present. Or try something like “I’m so sorry.” Be mindful not to turn away because their pain makes you uncomfortable. Send a text just “thinking of you.” Grief takes a lot of energy and focus, and there’s not much you can (or should) do to help someone process their pain. So lessen their burden by taking some of the stupid everyday life stuff off their plate: Walk the dog, make a meal, make sure there’s food, clean clothes, toilet paper, etc. Help with school or work stuff if possible. Check in often but take your queue from them. Some people want company while others want solitude. Everyone processes pain and grief differently. Don’t force your way on them. Offer to look at pictures or hear stories about the person they lost. This time is about them, so avoid any comparisons with how what they’re going through is similar to something you or someone else went through, unless it was the exact same thing: Telling someone who lost a child that you understand their pain because your grandmother died last year is not okay. People mean well but they say really stupid sh*t sometimes. (If you ever say something that may have caused pain, just acknowledge it, apologize for it, and move on from it.)There are lots of resources. Grief is so isolating. You can’t make their pain go away, but that’s okay. You’re job isn’t to ‘cheer them up’ it’s to ‘keep showing up.’ Read up on current literature, there are tons of great resources.
Take the family on periodic “spending fasts.”
As an exercise, go a day, a weekend or a week without spending any money. Make due with what you have.
Encourage participation. Tie in spending fasts with holidays, lent or in support of a cause.
What do you think about the word “refugee?” Let’s talk about what it means.
Personally, I don’t understand all the complexities of immigration policy, but I figure anyone who escapes violence and walks hundreds of miles with kids in tow, trying to get to safety and gain an opportunity for a better life for their family can live next-door to me anytime.
When he comes to you and tells you he’s in trouble, stay calm. Ask “How can I help you?”
Figure it out together. No matter how old he is, he needs to know you’re on his side. There will be time for lessons and consequences, etc. But first, help.
A simple blessing to silently pray over someone: “May he (she) be healthy, May he be safe. O Lord bless him with peace and joy.”
Pray for people you know, for strangers on the elevator, for teachers, world leaders, friends or foes, etc.
It’s one way to make the world a better place, and it turns your heart closer to God.