Just Being There

By Sandra Z. Armstrong

Purple and white flowers

Sometimes you can’t do enough to help another person in distress—whether it is a family member, friend, neighbor, or stranger. Fretful thoughts intrude. Should I do more? Why do my efforts seem so futile? Will my help be enough?

Stop worrying. All you have to do is be there. We seem compelled to do more because showing up doesn’t seem to be good enough. Caught up in the frenzy of doing and redoing, we find it difficult to appreciate the value of just being there. We want to fix problems quickly, hoping they will disappear. But some difficulties take more time to properly resolve, more time than our spontaneous society allows. It is necessary to slow down and ask ourselves, “Is just being there, going to be enough?” Patiently, we realize, maybe “it is.”

Each week we attend services on Zoom for Congregation Sof Ma’arav as we are a small synagogue where everyone’s participation is important. When my family began attending services regularly (16 years ago), sometimes I felt uncomfortable about not participating in the service or sponsoring the luncheon that follows. Eventually, I realized being there is important, too. Maintaining membership and supporting the service with our presence means something. We help by just being there.

As I walked along the beach today, I thought maybe God wants us to be there for Him/Her, too. Caught up in the many details of our lives, we doubt that just being there would have any impact. Could a little time each day spent acknowledging God make a difference? We often forget to express gratitude for all our blessings. It only takes a moment or two to sit with God and just be there.

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Shabbat Times
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