Gray background with 2 individuals sharing an umbrella

With permission, I am sharing part of an e-mail I received a few weeks ago from a beloved member of our congregation who has been facing scary health issues:

“I’ve been a member here for 20 years but now is the first time I genuinely feel a part of this beloved community. Even the simplest things mattered: a meal, a ride, a card. And now, coming out on the other side health wise, I have the desire to exercise that same unused muscle, to say to others, I see you and today I can hold your pain just as you once held mine. You are a big part of my ongoing recovery and I thank you for it.”

Wow! Sometimes we take for granted the power of community. When we say holding you in love, in care and/or concern it means we are ready to be there for you during difficult times. And we know we can’t just fix things for someone. Sometimes there are simply no words. All we can do is show up, witness and listen with a loving, compassionate heart. It helps to know that one’s communities – friends, congregation, colleagues, etc. – are present to our pain. It fortifies us to know we are not alone.

I recently had a health crisis in my own family and had to take time off work. I knew my congregation, friends, and colleagues were holding my family and me in love and care. It made a difference on those days in the hospital when I was feeling despair. I knew I was not alone. I knew that there was a web of people, at the ready, to support me. Who do you show up for? Who shows up for you? May we find ways to comfort others and be vulnerable enough to be comforted.

Rev. Claudia Jiménez