It may seem like an awkward situation. Someone you know is gravely ill, perhaps terminal. You want to help but, well, what do you do? Just show up.
Kara Tippets was dying of cancer while she wrote her part of this book. Her good friend, Jill Buteyn, wrote the other part. They share their experiences of living and dying, of supporting and being supported, of just being there.
Buteyn knows that showing up isn't easy, especially when you know that your friend, barring a miracle, will soon die. You feel unqualified. You don't know what to say. You don't know what to do.
Nonetheless, being there is important, she writes. Pray for wisdom and seek guidance, but do show up. She relates many stories and gives suggestions. Saying something, she writes, is better than saying nothing. But she also reminds us what kinds of things not to say. For example, be specific in your help. “I'll pick up the kids for a play date on Tuesday,” rather than, “If you need anything, let me know.”
There are good suggestions for the ill person too. Keep your friends informed. (Kara blogged regularly.) The Tippets had a cooler on their step where meals in disposable dishes could be left without barging into the house. There was also a chalk board near the door indicating whether Kara was up for visitors or not.
Kara wrote a section on what the care professionals call “the ministry of presence.” We can perform ministry by simply showing up and being there for someone. No clever dialog is required. No deep prayer session. Kara noted that she was blessed when Scripture was read to her...without commentary.
This is an excellent book for those who want to help a suffering friend but do not know how to begin. Kara added some thought provoking questions at the end of her entries. Readers are encouraged to engage with others. It need be nothing elaborate. Perhaps just a cup of coffee. I remember a rewarding time when a friend and I sat with a stroke victim from church, giving her husband time away to do some errands. She talked and we listened and all of us were blessed.
This is an excellent book on a difficult subject. I highly recommend it to those who would live well and die well, and to those who would support others in that journey.
Food for thought: “We need each other. God made us to walk with each other.”
I am taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can read other reviews here.
My rating: 5/5 stars.
The late Kara Tippets was the author of of The Hardest Peace and blogged faithfully at MundaneFaithfulness.com. Since her death in March, 2015, her husband Jason is parenting their four children and leading the church they founded in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Jill Lynn Buteyn is the author of Falling for Texas, and inspirational novel, and a recipient of the ACFW Genesis Award. She lives near the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her husband and their two children. You can find out more at Jill-Lynn.com.
David C. Cook, 196 pages. You can purchase a copy here.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review.