when you don’t know what to say

We’ve all faced those moments, haven’t we? Someone near us is facing something . . . an inexplicable crisis. An insurmountable challenge. A total injustice. A senseless something.

And we don’t know what to say.

We know it isn’t the time for cliches. It’s no time for “he lived a full life” or “he’s resting peacefully now.” It’s no time for “look on the bright side” or “but you’re better off for it.” No. Not “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” or “it’s going to get better soon.” And it’s not the time to point to theology because it’s a pain bigger than reason. Not the time for “this too shall pass.” None of that will do.

We don’t know what to say.

It’s also not the time for place-fillers. It’s not the time for activities to take the mind off things. Not the time for a shopping spree or a night out or a something or other.

In these moments, maybe it’s okay to say that we just don’t know what to say. Maybe it’s okay to say that, and to let that person know how much she is loved. How much he matters. That you’re praying the biggest prayers. That you admire her strength . . . and when she don’t feel like being strong anymore, that she can simply lean on you.

Maybe it’s okay that we don’t know what to say.

Maybe it’s okay that we say less and love more.

Related, I’m pulling out my prayer journal again. Can I pray for you? Comment here or email sarahkoci at gmail dot com.

Linking up today with Thought Provoking Thursday and Imperfect Prose.


11 thoughts on “when you don’t know what to say

  1. Yes.
    A dear, dear friend lost her husband recently, and I have experienced the say less, love more feeling.

    I think it is definitely okay to not know what to say… infinitely better than unintentionally say something painful trying to say the right thing.

    • Michelle, thank you for visiting! It was my first Thursday linking up and I can’t wait to do it again.

  2. Sarah – this post is so true…sometimes it is okay just to let someone know you love and care for them. There are times we need only to come along side them and be their friend. Thanks for linking up this week!


    • Joan, thank you for visiting! Yes, you are right: in the painful moments, what is needed is a friend and not empty words. So grateful to have linked up this week!

  3. So true Sarah—4 years ago one of our sons died unexpectedly…the most significant thing said by friends was “there is nothing I can say” as they gave me a big hug…there was such truth in that statement—there really was NOT anything to be said, but we still needed the support and the love… (unlike a few friends who stayed away—and are still at a distance—because they couldn’t figure out what to say then or now—totally useless to us and still makes some of them feel guilty)

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