You may not believe this, and that's OK, but I believe at the heart of everyone is at least a small flame of desire to do good. Sometimes that flame is all but snuffed out by forces of evil, but even still, a flicker remains, waiting for the perfect moment to re-ignite and move us closer to being who we were created to be.
One of those forces of evil is born within ourselves. An inner voice that needs to convince us our good isn't good enough. It tells us the hope we try to bring to the world isn't catching. The help we offer a friend or family member isn't the heal-all we desperately want it to be. And so sometimes the voice wins and we give up on being the good we were made to be.
I confess. I've been in a battle with that evil inner voice the last couple of weeks. With all the conviction a voice can muster it's been blasting me with this message: sometimes the struggles others suffer through are beyond our capacity to help.
The message didn't come out of nowhere. My evil voice wisely sensed my desire to help my friend Scott. This Friday he has to deliver a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing for the man found guilty of driving his vehicle off the road and hitting and killing his wife Meg while they were running together early last year. With his statement, Scott will address not only the court, but also the man who made the avoidable decision to drive drunk, shattering countless lives in both his and Meg's families. I've imagined how hard this will be for Scott. I've felt his mixed emotions, all of them unpleasant, as he has recounted in preparation for this statement the countless ways this tragedy has impacted his life. How haunting it must be to take note of all those things. The sleepless nights it must bring imagining how to say them - where to find the courage and just the right words. I've imagined the empty sadness it must bring to know no justice, no statement, can truly make things right - the way they were in the very early morning hours of January 13, 2014.
And the voice. The voice has asked me to consider, over and over, what good I or anyone else can possibly be to Scott and the rest of Meg's family who are preparing similar statements. We can't speak or write for them. We can't make either of those burdens easier for them. Don't even try to be the good in this one, the voice says.
Then a friend of mine sent me the video below. In five short minutes it drives home the point that sometimes just being present is all the good our hurting family and friends need. I'm sharing it along with my thoughts because I think sometimes many of us hear the same taunting inner voice I hear. It wants us to believe there's nothing we can do. It pleads for us to underestimate the power of our mere presence in Scott and Meg's family's lives. But this Friday, I hope you'll listen to the voice that tells you they need us more than ever. Not our voices. Not our words. But our reassurances, that we are here, sharing in the pain, and we are committed to being the good that carries on Meg's memory.
Please take a moment to watch this powerful message: