During this season of physical distancing, fear, anxiety, and the unknown, we have the unprecedented opportunity to practice being with each other in whole new ways. By being with I mean making space for and allowing the hard things along with the good things.
When I commit to being with you…
- I bear witness to your fears and your worries without dismissing them;
- I listen to your understanding of the problems you face without trying to solve them for you;
- I delight in the person you are as you embrace a wide array of emotions and experiences.
And I hope you can do the same for me.
Isaiah 43:1-3a reminds us that God commits to being with us all.
But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. (NRSV translation)
Using this text as a model, practice being with as you share a meal with your family or as you catch up with extended family using technology. Select one of the following questions to open your conversation or pick a different set of questions each day throughout the next week. However you decide to practice being with, enjoy the opportunity to nurture deeper relationships among your family and friends.
- What are you afraid of? Where are you finding hope?
- What ways to manage your fear do you find most helpful? How can I be supportive?
- Tell the story of the last time that you felt that someone really “got” you. What did they do to make you feel that way? What do you do to let someone know that you “get” them?
- What situation are you currently facing that feels overwhelming? What situation have you recently resolved that increased your confidence?
- What situation are you currently facing that makes you angry? What is most important to you about that situation?
- What situation would you like some help to deal with? What situation would prefer to manage alone?
- What do you enjoy about physical distancing? What is hard about physical distancing?
As you take turns responding to the question(s) you selected, practice listening attentively. Ask clarifying questions as needed and stay curious as you learn about each other.
To learn more about being with, read Raising a Secure Child by Hoffman, Cooper, and Powell.