While driving back from the gym a few days ago a fire hydrant caught my eye. It’s funny- there are thousands all around us yet we never really notice them. The life of a fire hydrant is to sit patiently and wait for the rare chance that a fire occurs. Yet, when a fire starts and the hydrant is turned on- then you are the star of the show! Most fire hydrants will never be used to fight a fire. However, when your house is burning. they are the most valuable thing in your life. So they sit patiently and quietly. They are nearly invisible, yet you are thankful that they are there.
There is a story in the Bible of a man named Job. Job was afflicted with awful circumstances that resulted in him losing his family and his wealth along with physical afflictions that tested his faith in God. When Job’s friends heard about his problems, they traveled to see him so they could comfort him. When they arrived, they sat with Job for seven days and said nothing to him. That’s right- nothing, absolutely nothing for seven days! Could you do it? Could you even sit for just a few hours in silence, being there to provide comfort?
To be honest, I struggle with this. I want to fix the situation- give advice- be the rescuer. Yet sometimes, you are better just being there and being quiet, like Job’s friends.
Then there is the wind chime. I hear the one that is on our back patio right now. With even the slightest breeze- it starts to sing. The wind chime is designed to play beautiful tones and to be soothing. And yet sometimes I just want silence. It can actually be annoying. Do you know someone who is a wind chime- always having something to say? Do you find yourself sometimes skipping your story to avoid the chime?
Why do I feel like I have to say something? Do I think I am smarter or have greater wisdom? I can’t wait for them to ask me for advice?
Cancer patients commonly complain about feeling lonely and isolated. Friends seem to avoid them as they don’t know what to say or they are uncomfortable just sitting with them, like Job’s friends. What an awful paradox- the time you really need someone to be there is the time that folks seem to abandon you! This is whacked. How could this happen?
So what are you- a fire hydrant or a wind chime? I am sure there are times for both- but do you find yourself jumping in with all the answers like the wind chime? I know that sometimes I don’t want advice. I just want some company as I sit under the tree like Job and try to sort out where I am. Is there someone that you know that you could sit with and just be there? Can you do it? Can you sit and be silent and comforting? Let me know what you think- comment below.