Thursday, August 22, 2013

Being a Good Comforter

Over the past several years, our family has been in need of comfort. We have received many heartfelt comforting thoughts, but sometimes we have heard odd comments, and endured uncomfortable situations.

So I thought I'd write today about being a good comforter.

Why?

Because I have experience being the one in need of comfort, therefore making me a professional at comforting others.

Yes, I'm serious.

The day after Mother's Day, my mom got into a car wreck, she needed some physical care for a couple of days. Nothing extreme, but she was in a lot of pain. 

When my mom was laid out in the same bed I recovered in from the roof collapse (two knee surgeries), did I tell her what type of pain I was in back then?  While she was unhappy, did I need to bring myself down as well or try and lift her up?

When my friend was diagnosed with a chronic illness, similar to mine, did I begin to tell her how dreadful it was, how awful I felt, how many doctor's appointments she should be prepared for?

I think my mixed feelings of giving true comfort came about full force after our miscarriage last year. While mourning my own loss, I was suddenly bombarded with other women's personal stories. I even requested on my blog for people to hold off on that sort of thing till I recovered.

Sidenote: I am so very grateful for all the frienships that have grown stronger because of our infertility story. Several of my closest friends and now many online friends have struggled the same, if not worse than us. By simply saying hold off on sharing personal stories, does not mean there isn't a perfect time and place to absolutely share when some one is in need. Just know the difference between trying to help and wanting to have a pity party.

Now that things have settled down and the trials seem to be slowly subsiding, I've come to the conclusion that comforting somebody else comes down to one simple action.

LISTEN
Here are some suggestions on how to be a good comforter:
  • Give the gift of food, in a disposable dish (so they don't have to track you down later)
  • Clean their house, their kitchen, bathrooms, or do a load of laundry
  • Drop off a positive book with a kind card
  • Send flowers (careful of the vase, I received a bright red vase after my miscarriage and I wanted to smash it)
  • Pray for them or with them
  • Make them laugh
  • Give them time to be comfortable sharing whether it's a month or a year, give them time
  • If they have children bring them clothes, shoes, healthy snacks, or offer to babysit
  • Some people have a hard time asking for help, so don't wait, if you see something that needs to be done, just do it!
  • Several weeks after their experience is over, touch base with them again. People often get visited like crazy when something bad happens, but are rarely checked up on in the following months.
Most of all, be like our Savior, and remember how He comforted others.


Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side
Psalms 71:21

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
John 14:27
 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life.
Mosiah 18:8-9  

No matter how difficult the trail, and regardless of how heavy our load, we can take comfort in knowing that others before us have borne life’s most grievous trials and tragedies by looking to heaven for peace, comfort, and hopeful assurance.
"You Have Nothing To Fear From the Journey" M. Russell Ballard


Some murmur when the sky is clear
And wholly bright to view,
If one small speck of dark appear
In their great heaven of blue:
And some with thankful love are filled,
If but one streak of light,
One ray of God’s good mercy, gild
The darkness of their night.
"Remembrance and Gratitude" Henry B. Eyring
It will comfort us when we must wait in distress for the Savior’s promised relief that He knows, from experience, how to heal and help us.
"Adversity" Henry B. Eyring
Look heavenward. As we do, we find it comforting and satisfying to communicate with our Heavenly Father through prayer, that path to spiritual power—even a passport to peace.
"The Path to Peace" Thomas S. Monson
I drafted this post a couple days ago, since then one of my friend's mother was in a horrible car wreck. We are praying for her and I'm sure this coming Sunday my ward will have a plan in place with ways for us to help.
It looks like I'll have an attempt at putting these words into actions.