I’m retyping the following as it appears in my Community of Hope manual, which gives credit as being copied from “The Compassionate Friends Newsletter” Vol.1 No. 6, October 1986. Enjoy.
I have a problem. I want to tell you about it. No, I really don’t. I’d rather keep it to myself; handle it alone. I do think it would be good for me to share it with you, though. I don’t want to because I’m afraid of what you’ll say or how you’ll act.
I’m afraid you might feel sorry for me in a way that makes me feel pathetic, like I’m some “poor thing.”
I’m afraid you’ll try to cheer me up. That you will give me words, or texts or prayers that tell me in a subtle way to stop feeling bad. If you do that I’ll feel worse (but hide it behind my obedient cheer-smile). I’ll feel you don’t understand. I’ll feel you are making light of my problem (as if it can be brushed away with some brief words of cheer.)
I’m afraid you’ll give me an answer. That this problem I’ve been wrestling with for some time now and about which I have thought endless thoughts will be belittled. You can answer in a half-minute what I’ve struggled with for weeks?
I’m afraid also you might ignore my problem; talk quickly about other things, tell me of your own.
I’m afraid too you might see me stronger than I am. Not needing you to listen and care. (It’s true, I can get along alone but I shouldn’t have to.)
What I’d really like is if you would “just walk with me.” Listen as I begin in some blundering, clumsy way to break through my fearfulness of being exposed as weak. Hold my hand and pull me gently as I falter and begin to draw back. Say a word, make a motion, or a sound that says, “I’m with you.” If you’ve been where I am, tell me how you felt in a way that I can know you’re trying to walk with me – not change me.
But I’m afraid…
You’ll think I’m too weak to deserve respect and responsibility.
You’ll explain what’s happening to me with labels and interpretation.
Or you’ll ask me, “What’ya going to do about it?”
PLEASE, JUST WALK WITH ME. All those other things seem so much brighter and sharper, smarter, and expert. But what really takes LOVE is to “JUST WALK WITH ME.”