Pastor’s Corner: God’s Most Precious Gift

A larger piece of orange paper reading "Other People's Help" with a few sticky notes in blue, pink, and yellow atop it.

September 18, 2019

With some sticky notes on the wall, we looked at ways we’ve brought ourselves through stressful times on September 8th. With those few words and some larger papers for categories, the participants taught one another and learned from one another things that had worked (and things that had not worked) to sustain themselves emotionally and to overcome some problems they had confronted in their lives.

We talked about how creative activities have helped sustain us through difficult times – sometimes projects we took on for the purpose, but also continuing things (sewing, writing, knitting, painting, etc.) that had given us joy in the good times. We talked about the value and power of prayer and worship, and the ways they feed us. We talked about the need to respond directly to a problem. Ignoring it will rarely make it “go away.”

It wasn’t until I was looking over these notes for this column that something obvious struck me: the largest single group of these sticky notes fell into the category of “Help from Other People.” Piled up, it was the tallest stack by a wide margin.

Other people are God’s most precious gift to us. Their moral support, their guidance, and their practical assistance are frequently the difference between successfully navigating the dangerous shoals of our stress and finding ourselves hard aground in loneliness, pain, and failure.

According to our participants, help takes a lot of forms. People often named reassurance, some variant on, “It will be all right.” They appreciated being understood by someone else. They valued working through their situation with a listening ear.

Sometimes the other people were friends, sometimes professionals, sometimes support groups. One person said they found it helpful to help someone else – that aided them in their own tough times. They also acknowledged that other people don’t always help. Several had received well-meaning but bad advice or heard ill-considered feedback. Not all support groups are created equal.

Other people are God’s most precious gift to us. And we, my friends, are God’s most precious gift to them.

With aloha,

Pastor Eric

Categories Pastor's Corner Reflections | Tags: , , | Posted on September 20, 2019

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