i got a call last night. one of those calls where you answer and without any words being spoken you know something is wrong. very very wrong. after some terrible silence there was sobbing. heart wrenching pain being hurled at me through the phone line. i had an instinct to get in the car. to go. but should i?
i listened to the weeping. i made out a few muffled sentences and pieced together an idea of what had happened. i asked "should i come over?" the answer was no. but, should i anyways?
i listened some more. offered to do what i could, but i knew my friend was far from a place where she could tell me what she needed.
the baby was sleeping. sonny was gone. i felt a tug to go. should i?
i got off the phone and called a mutual friend. we debated. should we go? did she need us, or would we just be in the way? we talked, we sighed, we prayed. our friend beeped in on her other line so i said goodbye. i just didn't know what we should do.
then i called my sister. she would pray. she would listen. and she did one better. she said "you should go." as if on cue, judah woke up and i announced it was time to put on shoes and load 'em up. we were gonna go.
after picking up a few 44 oz diet cokes (a must in any crisis) we merged onto the freeway. my phone rang and it was an update. my friend's mom was almost to her house to take the kids and my friend was going to get out of the house. i started to doubt myself. should i still go? it was a 20 minute drive. did she really want me there? what would i say?
i kept on driving and told myself, well, at least i can drop off the pop and give her a hug. we pulled up to her house and i left the van idling, kids still buckled. i knocked on the door with a bit of nervousness. what would i find? what would i say? would it be the wrong thing?
the door opened and there stood my friend. visibly shaken. but still every bit my friend. there were lots of decisions to be made, things to discuss, changes in her future, but what did she need that night? me. she just needed me.
we started talking. sometimes about "it" and sometimes not. eventually the kids trickled in and the talking continued. our mutual friend called and said she was craving chinese. we loaded up and headed to the local panda express. we ate. we talked. we even laughed.
after several hours and a few too many fortune cookies we parted ways. as i drove back toward home i reflected on how nothing was decided. no insightful advice was given, no lifechanging wisdom imparted. yet what transpired that night was so very profound. i chose to walk through my fears and enter into someone else's pain. i didn't have to have any special words or qualifications. i just needed to be present. to say "i'm sorry." "this is so rough". "i'm not going anywhere." all i did was sit. sit in the pain. and not run screaming.
and because i didn't just say "should i?" and i actually "did"...i got to tread on holy ground.