By: Chris Warren.
Luckily, it is rare when I find myself in a situation where someone important to me is in a lot of trouble and pain and there is absolutely nothing I or anyone can do about it. No matter how much I want to help them, no matter how much I care, no matter how much I empathize with them, none of it changes the ultimate outcome. When there is nothing left to give, or more appropriately, nothing to give, all that is left is the power of a hug.
I find myself in such a situation right now; it involves a close friend who is going through a painful and difficult period and all I can do is stand back and watch. She doesn’t deserve it. Then again, does anyone? Fate can be a both a bastard and an angel, often at the same time. It’s also indiscriminate. Good and evil happen to everyone at some point in their lives. Evil can be avoided to some extent with good judgement and money, but sooner or later, the bastard is going to catch even the smart, the rich, and the lucky.
I sat in a hospital lobby with my friend for several hours late into the night while waiting for her husband to arrive. The place was quiet, very well appointed, with deep comfortable chairs and soft light. They even had a fireplace! My friend did about 80% of the talking, describing in great detail the storyline that was soon going to end sadly in that hospital. The whole scene: The nice furniture, fireplace, and personal conversation made me feel like I was in a therapist’s office, except I was the therapist.
Other than listening and hugging, we bystanders in an untenable position. We can’t really help, and we can’t just stand there either. For those who are hurting, an attentive ear and a hug go a surprisingly long way. A hug has warmth. A hug has hope. A hug has meaning that cannot be expressed with words. A hug has power. A hug is what you have when you have nothing else. And that’s a lot.