Principle: Engage the Heart – Connect with others through showing how much you care not how much you know; be a friend
We’re all familiar with the phrase “misery loves company.” The original meaning is unhappy people want others to be unhappy too. But I took a little different approach to the idiom and made it “company loves misery.” How? Yesterday, my new friend Russ sent a Facebook message to say he wanted to get out of the house and was coming over to visit. He was stir crazy and needed some exercise. Why? Russ recently had spinal surgery and is immobile from the neck up. Because of his recovery requirements, he can’t work, drive or lift anything for six months. Russ and I share a similar situation. I recently had shoulder replacement surgery and am incapacitated as well.
Russ knocked on the door, and as I approached to welcome him, I noticed he looked pale. He wore a plastic neck brace and could barely move. Although our houses are only a block apart, he was exhausted from the short journey. I invited Russ in, offered him a chair and we began to catch up. He told me about his diagnosis, surgery and recovery timeline. I told him mine. We talked football, families, current events and work.
After our brief visit, Russ said he needed to walk up to our neighborhood school bus stop and meet his kids. While it was only a short distance, I was concerned about him walking back alone because he didn’t appear strong enough to make the journey. Even though I had my own incapacitation, I decided to walk with him. I threw on my shoulder brace and said, “Let’s go!”
We were only 100 feet from my house when Russ began to slow down. He stopped talking and said he needed a minute. He was light-headed and needed to sit down. I walked him over to a nearby electrical box, and he sat down for a couple of minutes. Russ regained his strength and started walking toward the bus stop again. I continually asked him how he was feeling and encouraged him along the way. Ultimately, we made it to the bus stop, and he met his kids. Mission accomplished!
I loved God and others this week by engaging Russ’s heart. I was a friend to him when he needed one. While it may seem small in the scheme of things, I intentionally connected with him and met a small need. My challenge to you is to be company to someone in misery. Be a friend, engage his or her heart and love them well.
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