I wasn't sure anyone was "home." It was late afternoon, that interlude in country life between feeding the animals and milking the cows. For a few minutes, every afternoon, our hardworking Amish neighbor and his family pause in the house to eat an early supper before heading back to pull warm milk from waiting cows. When I heard a voice, urgent, insistent, I knew someone else was aware of the situation.
There was nothing for me to do.
And so I stood in the gap. No waving arms, no voice, except perhaps a low murmur. I contributed nothing but presence.
looked me in the eye,
he seemed to weigh his options.
And then, just as he was ready to bolt, his wide wild eye
caught a glimpse of his farmer. He heard a voice he knew;
turning, he trotted toward the barn.
From the other side of "barn/home" I heard more calling-talking
-cajoling, more scattered horse footsteps, but he was nearly done
My services were no longer needed. And really, what "service"
had I offered? What did a town girl transplant in blue crocs and a
tank top have to offer?
I simply stood in the gap.
I was present.
When death visits and leaves with a family member...
when a friend agonizes over the shocking choices an adult child is making...
when one I love must make a hard decision...
perhaps the most helpful thing I can do is simply stand. I can stand for them, beside them, with them.
I can be present. And so can you.
Or, to approach the metaphor from a slightly different direction, there is no way to know, to measure, to grasp the incredible value of a life lived by simply standing. By God's grace, I - you - can stand for truth. You can be there. You can stand as a person of integrity, faithfulness, compassion.
Perhaps a young acquaintance, full of energy and life, is on the verge of barreling through a boundary, a hedge, a fence of protection. Another, facing a difficult circumstance may be considering a shortsighted "solution" with eternal implications. There are people whose lives intersect with yours whose life perspective has been skewed by circumstances you can barely imagine.
Your willingness to stand may be their only glimpse of something different, an alternative to what they have always accepted as normal.
You just never know where your presence might be needed.
You just never know.
So for today, just stand. Be there. Be present.
In faithfulness, in integrity, be a presence in the lives of those you know, or those you may never know.
Just be there. Stand.