In late winter I went to my mom’s home for a few days while she prepared for surgery and a hospital stay. I thought I could help out. I ended up being stranded there by a snowstorm.
My dear cranky old cat, Smitten Kitten, was left alone back at my place. He had plenty of food and water, but he was a needy monster when I returned, following me around, grumbling, mewing, and crying. He needed attention and affection; he needed me to be really there.
I think this is a lesson about the things we are attached to – people and pets. Sometimes they just need us to be really there. Not distracted by tasks or electronic gadgets. Not physically present but mentally someplace else. The best thing I did for my mom that week was to listen while she worried. By asking questions, offering encouragement and just nodding, I was helping her process what was going on. Yes, it was helpful that I carried in her groceries, picked up her prescriptions and shoveled snow off her patio. But what I really accomplished was to be there–present and supportive during a trying time.
This message was adapted from “Being There,” a post on the Women of the ELCA blog, written by Katie Elliott.