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Trade Paperback
176 pages
Feb 2004

Simple Acts of Kindness: Practical Ways to Help People in Need

by Terri Green

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt



Lend Me Your Ears

I  wish I had a nickel for every moment that I needed someone to just hear me out. I had enough professionals giving me advice about what to do for Kara and for Tayler. I needed somebody to hear my cries and not reply with what they thought I should do. No advice, just understanding.

One of those somebodies for me during so many dark days and rough times was my good friend Debe. Debe has given me and my family amazing help during our difficult times. But I appreciated her listening ear most of all. It was and still is the one thing that seems hard for most people to do. She would listen and comfort me when I cried. All of my friends have become like family to me through our hard times. We have listened to each other in the worst of situations. But Debe was in the thick of it with me from day one.

Debe and I became pregnant within six months of each other. My baby was due first. We grew big together with our pregnancies, then she supported me every minute once Kara was born.

She always put aside her feelings and would ask me first how I was doing. Iíd have to catch myself in the middle of my moaning and turn the conversation around to inquire, ďOh, Iím sorry, how are you?Ē She felt that whatever her situation was, it was minor in comparison to mine, and so she put the world into perspective for herself.

Thoughtful Suggestions

       1.  None of us will escape having a lousy day now and then. Put your difficult day aside and try to comfort your friend or loved one. His rough day may top yours.

       2.  Donít try to put a Band-Aid on your friendís hardship. Sometimes it just compounds her issues. If you havenít been in her shoes, she may only be discouraged and confused by your unsolicited advice.

       3.  Even if you are older (and possibly wiser), remember that you are not living in the other personís situation. You may have knowledge and experience of another kind, to be reserved for another time. Advice from a truly familiar friend is easy to hear, but mere words to fill an uncomfortable silence can be deafening. And unbroken silence can feel like nonacceptance. Be careful with what you say.

       4.  If you donít know how to comfort friends, then simply tell them the truth, ďI am so sorry, I donít know what to tell you. I just donít know what to say.Ē Then a physical hug if their body language calls for it may be all the conversation that is needed for the moment.

I have to admit that I have fallen into the category of unsolicited advisor to some of my friends at one time or another. Iím embarrassed to realize that the listeners may have hung up the phone and just rolled their eyes. Who can blame them? Being a listening friend is like being someoneís human journal. The journal never speaks back to you. It accepts every word that you write, unconditionally. A journal gives you the opportunity to vent without being criticized. Wouldnít it be nice to know that you are thought of as a person who can be trusted not to judge someone by their thoughts or by their hardships? ďFriends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.Ē Notice that Mark Antony didnít ask his audience to lend him advice.

    Do not be quick with your mouth,
    do not be hasty in your heart
    to utter anything before God.
    God is in heaven
    and you are on earth,
    so let your words be few.

    Ecclesiastes 5:2