You Want to Help, Then Be Quiet!

29 11 2020

When my children were little, it was my desire for them to know the area and people where my story began down in southern West Virginia. Many times we traveled down to Mercer County which is the home of Princeton, my birth home, and Bluefield that at one time was called the southern New York City for the way it was designed.  But it was the small communities where most of my extended family lived–Matoaka, Rock, Montcalm and Bluewell. These little hamlets were quaint as they had not changed a great deal with progress, and I loved them dearly as I did the people who lived there.

One of my favorite places was a state park named Pinnacle Rock for its 3,100-foot sandstone formation that rises high into the sky like a natural God made skyscraper. Several times I would make my way over there before sunrise, and with a flashlight make my trek to the top where I would watch the sun come up in the east and pull the darkness away from the valley below like an artist slowly unveiling the beautiful painting he had created. I was always left in awe of the beauty God had formed just for a wild-eyed youth to take in. Now my great-aunts didn’t hold to the same mindset I did and lectured me how dangerous that stunt was. I finally agreed they would never hear of me climbing up Pinnacle Rock in the dark again. (Please note the words I used.)  So, when the children became old enough to appreciate the view, I would take them over, and to ease everyone’s mind, in the daylight. They loved it as I had hoped they would. 

It was on one of those visits I met a man that I didn’t know and have never seen since. He was standing in the parking lot looking away from the rock and on to the road; and it was apparent there was a lot of sadness in this soul. As we reached him, I said hello and he gave me a soft reply. Something told me not to keep walking. So, I spoke, “Friend, are you okay?” That’s all it took for him to tell his story. “I come here occasionally to remember my daughter. I just live down the road and we used to come here and climb the rock like you and your kids did. She loved it here and we had such a good time. As she got older, I was working more and she was growing into a young lady. We kind of grew apart; she had friends that she hung out with and I just didn’t bother being around her much. One day she was driving home from a party and had too much to drink. She went left of center right out here, hit a car and died instantly. I can’t help thinking had I been around more for her this would have never happened. I can’t stop blaming myself.” I sent the family on to the car and Cathy knew I was going to stand there and talk to this man as long as he wanted. I didn’t do much talking, I let this brother spill his heart out with all that was on it. “I generally don’t talk to strangers, but when I saw you something told me it was okay to approach you. (Not blowing my horn but I get that a lot.) He continued on with memories of how close they had been at one time, and all the joy and laughter they shared. When he spoke of the good times there would be a small smile on his face, to which I would smile back and say something like “That is such an awesome memory, thank you for sharing it with me.” When it was apparent he had finished, I ask him if I could pray with him. And there in that parking lot, with others coming and going around us, we bowed our heads to the Lord and I prayed he would forgive himself and hang on dearly to those precious memories of his beloved little girl. Before we walked to our cars he spoke once more. “Thank you, you don’t know how much you helped me today.” Driving away his words kept echoing in my ears. How much I helped him? I didn’t do much more than listen to him. I, didn’t, do much more, than, listen. Hmm.

I like using quotes: Here’s one that rings true even though I don’t know who said it. “Sometimes we need someone to simply be there. Not to fix anything, or to do anything in particular, but just to let us feel that we are cared for and supported.”

Years ago, I learned the passage James 1:19 “This you know, my beloved brethren, but everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” I felt it was directed right at me because I was guilty of speaking when I shouldn’t. But it’s also directed at how we should treat others who are going through some rough times. The man didn’t need me to try and fix his problems, he needed me to listen to his story, and care. That’s how God Treats us; He knows and listens to our concerns and short comings and cares so much for each of us that when the time is right, He can help us. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

As I stated earlier, I never saw this “Traveler of the Rock Road” again. Occasionally though, I still think of him and hope he found help in forgiving himself. All I know is God put this individual in my path that day for a reason. And the reason? Simply to listen, and to care. Perhaps God has or will do the same to you; bring someone to you that needs help. And you give them that help. With your ear, and your heart.

Another quote I like is this one by Katherine Walden, “If a person feels the need to tell you the same story countless times, there is a reason. It is either important to their heart or they feel it is important for you to know. Be kind, be attentive, be patient and perhaps you will be the one God uses to help them move past where they are stuck.”

Blessed Week Family and Friends!

See ya next time.




6 responses

30 11 2020

It doesn’t come easy to most people to only listen. Another great quote goes more or less like : most people don’t listen to understand, they listen to reply. I catch myself doing that…
It was a meeting meant to be. 🙂

21 12 2020

Good saying for all of us to practice.
Thank you


30 11 2020
Charles Frisinger

Beautiful story John. The most proficient counselors are good listeners. At times, whenever I have been frustrated by not hearing from God, I think He has been doing what was the best thing to do at the time; that is listening.

21 12 2020

Thank you Charlie
Blessings Brother!

30 11 2020

A great story with a biblical application, as always.

“In the end, people are persuaded not by what we say, but why what they understand.”

By listening way more than you talked, the gentleman you helped understood that you (and by extension God) really cared.

21 12 2020

And that’s something it took me years to understand and master in my life/
Thank you David.
Blessings Brother!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: