Tuesday, October 26, 2010

When you're in the valley

The last two days I've been watching some videos from The Skit Guys, and I came across one they did that I found very relevant to what I sometimes write about on this blog.

If you haven't seen it, go watch it, if you can, because I write about it in the following paragraphs and it might not make any sense unless you've seen it first.

It's called The Mourning Booth and it shows a man who is in a "valley" (spiritually speaking) coming into a restaurant and sitting in the booth. The narrator says that you're either "going into a valley, in the middle of a valley, or just coming out of a valley." The man meets with several different people in his booth who say or do all the wrong things for someone who is in the "valley." Things like trying to make the man laugh by telling jokes, or reading that "All things work together for good" from the Bible, or saying things like "it's time to get over it and move on."

Eventually, everyone leaves. They don't want to stay in the "valley" any longer than they have to. It's as if they're scared that if they spend too much time in the "valley" then they'll get stuck there or something. It seems like they do everything possible to get whoever it is in the "valley" out and if they can't, they leave. I don't think they mean to abandon their friend but sometimes that's what happens. They don't notice the deep, emotional pain that person is in and if they do, they don't know how to help, they feel awkward and uncomfortable, so they don't do anything, or they make it worse by asking insensitive, nosy questions or quipping platitudes and cliche's to try and make them feel better.

But watch what the waitress does at the end. She's pouring his coffee and glances over, seeing that he's in great, emotional distress. Instead of sitting opposite of him, she slides in next to him. He scootches over to give her more room and she silently sits next to him. Mourning with him, sharing in his grief, supporting him in the "valley." Chances are, she's in her own "valley" too, or she just got out of one and remembered what it felt like.

This past week, I have had friends that have said things to me like "How are you really doing? You don't have to smile if you don't want to. Please don't feel like you need to pretend around me. If you don't want to talk about that then just tell me and we'll talk about something else instead. I love you very much, my friend."

You wanna know what encourages me the most? That. It's as if you just sat down next to me in my Mourning Booth, slipped your arm in mine, and walked with me a few steps through my valley. I hope, I pray, I'm almost out of this valley but, chances are, I've got a bit more miles to walk before I'm through.

 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

What those other people were trying to do in the video clip... yeah, there's a time for that. Sometimes, watching a funny movie or telling a few jokes may be what somebody needs at that moment, taking them out shopping might be what helps get their mind off their troubles, taking time to remind them of the truths of God's word over a cup of coffee may give them encouragement and comfort, and, sometimes, telling them that they need to move on (lovingly, of course!) may be what they need to hear to help get them out of their depression and back into life again. Everybody is different, though, and the bottom line is that we weren't made to handle these valleys on our own. Be willing to come alongside someone and walk a while with them in their valley and maybe they'll be the ones to walk with you in your valley.

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