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 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.