What matters most when helping others

Juice and Joy for Friday, November 12, 2010

The wisest and best teachers and pastors seem always to be people who are able to look us in the eye, see into our hearts, and thereby receive us into their own lives.

Somehow—it is not always clear exactly how—we feel ourselves to be known by them, not in a way that intrudes but in a way that accepts. They have an uncanny ability to hold us in their attention, see us as we are, and then invite us into relationship with them. The respect they give to us just by noticing us with care often sustains us and moves us, making it possible for us to learn and grow in ways we never though possible. Beyond what they have to tell us—about the gospel, about the world, about ourselves—there is what they have to provide for us: a hospitable space in which to be the persons we are, each unique and individual.


The longer I live, the less I care about clinical models and DMS-Anything.

Being present, I mean truly being present to those we care for, is what matters most.

Far too many therapists out there, in ties, in collars, in suits, in white coats and loafers, are anywhere but present to those they care for.

There is a holiness of “moment.” It has no language, cannot be measured, nor taught, yet those who hear it heal what hurts.

Being present isn’t sexy, fun or glamorous, it’s just beautiful hard work.


Source: Craig Dykstra, In the forward to the book, Faith Care: Ministering to all God’s People Through the Ages of Life, by Daniel Aleshire, 1988

Kevin Lee

Author: Kevin Lee

In a nutshell, Kevin fesses up to the following: He's a retired youth advocate-counselor, a blogger, writer, photographer, rower, Friends Minister, grandpa of six and married to a terrific woman for 43 years and counting!

One thought on “What matters most when helping others”

  1. I love seeing this passage here, Kevin…I think you first passed it on to me 13 years ago? It’s been on the back of all of my Jr Hi staffers’ notebooks in 22 bold font for 7 years now. I don’t think there is anything more important that we can say to middle schoolers than “I know and love the essence of you just as you are right now — and unfailingly believe that with grace and light you will continue to grow and transform.” Of course, my staffers are my staffers because they deeply know and embody this, so this quote, glowing on their notebooks, isn’t an instruction list on “how to be” — it’s a grateful affirmation and love for who they are….

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