In May 2005 I was serving as a Christian pastor in Gainesville, Florida, USA. I had met with a young man prior, and we had shared on the topic of faith. The following I wrote after a phone conversation with him later. He had been distressed about his religious faith, had been struggling with questions he had no answer to, and, like so many, he did not find encouragement from others to engage his doubts honestly.
He calls. I have several things to get done, already other unexpected visits have put me behind schedule. Each visit has been a joy, but now is the third. I listen over the phone. I choose to relax, to give a gift of more time. I, after a while of sharing, hear the relief in his voice. He breathes a relaxing sigh, as though a burden has lifted, while he says, “Brian, I think I see what you meant the first time we talked at the café.” He had sought peace. He was given time and words, to open a way that can help him relax, trust, and know what is distracting him can never be figured out, nor need he have the answers trust does not need to know to thrive ~ all trust finally needs is Love. I assure him there are many who claim to have the answers. I reassure him he need not be distracted by such show of certainty, even by those who get uneasy or angry at him, for deep down they are covering up a doubt they must hide from themselves by appearing so certain. He, being a Christian, I remind him he can relax into his loving Jesus, grow in that relationship, and give up trying to understand the Mystery of the Holy. He begins to see, truly feel, what leads to the peace he had sought, what led him to find safe refuge in our sharing together. He says, “I can see that God brought you to me.” He continues, “You are more than a pastor to me, you are a friend.” Then, crying and voice breaking, he speaks three precious words, “I love you.”
Possibly, your sharing a safe refuge for honesty, totally, is the most precious gift you may share with someone. Many persons have never known such a welcome spaciousness, free of criticism, of judgment. Grace is unconditioned, so unconditional Presence. Healing arises from the simply being heard, for Being is listening through your being~with together. In the sharing, the refuge is not something you provide the other; the refuge arises from the Presence embracing you each in unconditional welcome. And, ironically, in this communion refuge is provided for you each, and the other and you become one subject sharing in divine Love. Such sharing is opportunity to transcend the ego, dropping an agenda to be the helper, and trusting the process of sharing to arise in an organic, fresh way. In this communion, while what you say may prove helpful, your embodiment of Presence with the other is the principal catalyst for inspiration and encouragement. Peace is found in Love, Love is found in Peace.
*Copyright 2018, Brian Kenneth Wilcox