My husband and I went on a little mini vacay this month to the beautifully quaint town of Staunton, Virginia. It was FREEZING but wonderful – so peaceful and different. Mountains and little unique coffee shops were everywhere. We stayed at the coziest little Airbnb apartment. It was farmhouse themed with teal and mustard colored walls (which are my jam), wooden creaky floors, and colorful rugs.
One day during our trip, we decided to venture north to ski at Wintergreen Resort in Virginia. I’ve only skied one time my whole life. I was super little and had a slightly traumatizing experience (long story) and hadn’t been back on skis since. My husband had never been skiing before so we thought it would be a fun bonding experience to try together.
Did I mention that it was freezing? It was also raining… In case you are thinking about trying to ski in the rain… just don’t.
My hubby and I signed up for group ski lessons and had a blast. Skiing is difficult and scary but it was fun to learn together. During the lesson, our instructor was having us practice turning and stopping down the bunny slope when a young girl (maybe 10 years old) ran right into our teacher and fell down.
Our instructor was caught off guard and the girl was obviously new to skiing and was struggling to get up. He spoke with her briefly – making sure that she had parents nearby and that she was okay – then instructed us to continue down the slope.
My heart just broke for this young girl. Maybe I overthink things (which is true) or maybe I can feel other people’s emotions too deeply (which is also true), but I could not bring myself to leave her struggling on the ground. The rest of the group had moved on down the slope a little, but I waited back with the girl – knowing that I would be terrified, frustrated, and embarrassed if I were her.
The snow machines were blowing like crazy, so it was cold and difficult to see. I bent down and asked if she was okay. She said yes and continued the struggle of trying to uncross her skis and roll over to stand up (which feel literally impossible as a young newbie). I asked her if she was new to skiing and she said yes. I told her that I was new too and that it was totally normal to fall down and struggle turning. She smiled a little – stopping her struggle to give herself a second to rest.
I tried to tell her a few tricks I had learned to stand back up on the snowy slope but – let’s face it – I’m a rookie and really had no idea how to help this girl stand up on her own, so, instead, I decided to plop down right beside her and say, “look, now we are both stuck!” She laughed and I popped off one of my skis so that I could pop hers off to help her stand. I asked her if she was here with anyone and she said “yes, that’s my mom right there!” Her mom zoomed up next to us with wide, concerned, I-can’t-believe-I-couldn’t-turn-around-and-help-my-daughter-sooner eyes. I looked at her and explained that I just didn’t want to leave her daughter here alone. She was grateful and I walked down the slope (with my skis in hand) to meet up with the rest of my lesson group.
There was absolutely nothing I could do to help the little girl in her situation. I debated even staying back with her because I felt so helpless, but something in my spirit would not let me leave her alone in the struggle. I’d like to think that my presence maybe made the tough situation a little easier or, at least, helped the time pass by until someone who could actually help came around.
How often do we pass by friends, family members, or complete strangers that may need company? How often do we pass them by or ignore them because we know that there is nothing we can do or say to help their situation?
I’m here to remind you today that simply being present with others as they go through trying times can be the sweetest gift of all.
When I fall down on the slippery ski slope of life and am struggling to find my footing to stand back up, I don’t need a hero to swoop in and carry me to the bottom of the mountain. What I need is a kind human to plop down right beside me and just be there until a greater power leads me and enables me to stand up and try again.
We live in a lonely world. It’s a world that is so connected via social media, texts, calls, and video games, yet so lonely in the heart. It’s more common to enter a Facebook group than it is to see a group of real people around the dinner table. We live in a “fix it or leave it alone” culture. If the problem or situation can’t be fixed quickly and by you, then why waste your time?
I’m here to remind you that being with another human as they walk through hurt, failure, tragedy, or fear does not make you useless or annoying, it makes you humane and empathetic.
Maybe that friend, co-worker, or family member doesn’t need you to fix their problem. Maybe they just need you to sit in the snow with them for as long as they need. Just as the Lord is close to the broken-hearted, may we also draw close to those in – trusting that God can use us to comfort others through our words or through His presence radiating in and outside of us.
If you are walking through a difficult season right now, I pray that you would first find incredible comfort in Jesus Christ. His comfort brings peace more often than it brings understanding and there is nothing like it. He is with you – always – and I pray that He would send you kind people that will walk with you (one step at a time) through this season as well.
God created us for community and relationship – with Him and others. May we remember the incredible value of just being with Him in His presence and also just being with others through every high and low.
You are loved. You are seen. You are never alone. God loves you, sees you, and never leaves you.