from Chapter 14
“How Can I Help?”
A different situation arises when it is not I who suffer, but someone else whom I want to help. What can I do to alleviate their fear? I have learned that simple availability is the most powerful force we can contribute to help calm the fears of others….Yancey, Philip. Where Is God When It Hurts? (Zondervan: Grand Rapids, 1990), 194-5.
Again and again suffering people… have stressed how much it means when healthy people make themselves available. It is not our words or our insights that they want most; it is our mere presence….
I have mentioned that no one offers the name of a philosopher when I ask the question, “Who helped you most?” Most often they answer by describing a quiet, unassuming person. Someone who was there whenever needed, who listened more than talked, who didn’t keep glancing down at a watch, who hugged and touched, and cried. In short, someone who was available, and came on the sufferer’s terms and not their own.