Last night I had the privilege of listening to a ministry friend of mine share his story of working through the reality of living with mental health related issues. Brett Ullman shared openly, honestly and passionately about this somewhat taboo subject, causing me to reflect on what my role is as a friend, father, husband and leader when it comes to mental health.
One of my favourite stories is the story of Job. It's an epic tale of a man who had everything, lost it, experienced great pain, and saw it all restored over a series of different circumstances (read about it here).
As the story of Job unfolds, his friends gather around him to support him in this season of pain and confusion. They do something that I find extremely profound and the outset of this initial connection...they choose to sit beside him in literal ashes for 3 days.
Unfortunately after this point they attempt to counsel Job and offer their "wisdom" as to why he may be experiencing this pain.
Nonetheless, there is something very raw and powerful to be learned here. I've asked myself this question over the last 12+ hours, "What does sitting in the ashes alongside someone look like today?"
Here are some ideas that came to mind:
- visiting someone in the hospital
- sharing a meal with someone
- giving your lunch to someone so they can eat a meal today
- financially supporting a child through Compassion or World Vision
- giving out free hugs (careful with this one...could get weird!!)
- shovelling snow
- praying for someone
Are there Jobs in your life? People who just need to know that someone is willing to sit with them in the middle of their pain? What would it look like for you to sit in the ashes alongside someone in need today?