When Jen, a theme park employee, saw Ralph collapse in tears on the ground, she rushed to help. Ralph, a young boy with autism, was sobbing because the ride hed waited all day to enjoy had broken down. Instead of hurrying him to his feet or simply urging him to feel better, Jen got down onto the ground with Ralph, validating his feelings and allowing him the time to cry.
Jens actions are a beautiful example of how we can come alongside those who are grieving or suffering. The Bible tells of Jobs crippling grief after the loss of his home, his herds (his income), his health, and the simultaneous deaths of his ten children. When Jobs friends learned of his pain, they set out from their homes . . . [to go] comfort him (Job 2:11). Job sat on the ground in mourning. When they arrived, his friends sat down with himfor seven dayssaying nothing because they saw the depth of his suffering.
In their humanness, Jobs friends later offered Job insensitive advice. But for the first seven days, they gave him the wordless and tender gift of presence. We may not understand someones grief, but we dont need to understand in order to love them well by simply being with them.