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In recent days, two situations have occurred. A friend came to see me about someone who was in despair, life feeling overwhelming, and my friend did not know what to say or do to help.
Then news came of a member of my family who has gone missing and there is fear for his life. A deep sense of helplessness overwhelmed me as I heard the news.
Last week I was in Oban for our Diocesan Synod, a great opportunity to meet up with people from all over Argyll and the Isles, people usually only met once a year.
Part of the gathering was a day conference led by Reverend Dr Sam Wells. He spoke about four kinds of relationship – ‘working for, working with, being for and being with’.
The first three convey a sense of trying to fix things, and I guess most of us want to do that, and a good thing it is too! But sometimes there is no quick fix and well-meaning people avoid the sufferer because ‘I didn’t know what to say’. Simply being with someone should never be underestimated.
And, of course, in happier times, any relationship is the richer for the feeling of equality which comes from being with one another, sharing the inevitable highs and lows of this precious life.