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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Day 10: Blessing by Being

One of our favorite youth group retreats became Excel, however in 2001 we were newbies to this event. Five teens and two adults rode north in a church van, packed full of luggage and people. During the weekend I learned an important concept.

On our first trip to Belize in the summer of 2000, I had done something very stupid. I tried to lift a cement block. The result was a herniated disc and severe sciatic pain that lasted far too long. On our trip to Excel, I was several weeks into dealing with debilitating pain and the frustration of not being able to move freely or do things I enjoyed. Well, actually, I was tired of not being able to do things I DID'T enjoy, but that needed to be done.

Changing the sheets on my bed was impossible. Washing dishes caused great pain and left me wiped out. Getting dressed was difficult and putting on socks required a very specific set of maneuvers. Driving hurt. Standing for any length of time was agonizing. Sleep came in 2 hour on 2 hour off shifts.

I was blessed to have a dear friend who came in every week and cleaned my apartment (it has never been cleaned so thoroughly since!!) and did my laundry. She washed my dishes, changed my sheets, mopped and swept. I was so blessed, yet it was SO HARD to accept her help.

I had been a doer. That was how I blessed people, by doing things for them. Suddenly, I was in a position where I could barely do for myself, let alone help others. How would I bless them when I was so dependent?

On the Excel trip, I shared these feelings with our youth pastor. He encouraged me that I could bless people just by being. He said that blessing people wasn't about what I did for them, but who I was with them. He cheered me by telling me that people were blessed by my presence. (Although I wasn't sure I believed him.)

In the midst of this time when I couldn't DO for others, I began to focus on blessing people by the person I was - by enjoying them, by loving them, by laughing with them, by being present with them, by giving them myself. Slowly, over time, my focus changed from what I could do for others, to blessing them with my words, my love, my way of being with them.

As with each Pivot Point, I am still on the journey, sharing what I have learned so far and knowing that I still have more to learn.

What advice would you give to someone who is trying to bless others by being rather than doing?


  1. I have been in some really dark times in my life and people have done some very kind things for me which I really appreciated. However, I think some of the most comforting times were when I had people who were simply "present" with me. An example comes to me of a friend who held me in her arms and said nothing except some quiet murmurs like a mother gives to a child who is in need. I found so many times that the mere presence of a loving person was the greatest gift.

  2. Dear Anonymous,
    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story! Your words are refreshing and encouraging!