There are days when I wish it was that easy to fix the bad things. When my child calls to tell me he or she needs surgery, or money, or that the grandchild is sick. Yeah, I wish that a kiss or hug would make it better like it did back when they were little. When I know that my parents need someone to take them shopping or to the doctor and they live 2000 miles away. I wish a kiss would do the trick. World peace? Children dying from malnutitrion? The AIDs epidemic? Yep, it would be nice if a kiss or hug could fix those, too. But that's not the way things work.
There are however some things that I can do to fix the bad days. I can offer a listening ear. I can offer an encouraging word. I can lend my limited experience. I can make a phone call just to say hello. I can send an e-mail to a friend I haven't heard from in a while. In the vernacular of the young... I can be there.
I believe we spend a lot of time not being there. No, I'm not talking about our absence of body. I'm talking about our absence of spirit. I can recall a lot of times when my body was sitting on the couch with my kids, but I wasn't there. I was someplace else.
I know myself well enough to admit that my mind is out there streaming along in some alternate universe instead of the here and now. That's fine when I'm writing. That's perfect. But when I need to be here in the present, paying attention to a friend or loved one, then I must rein myself in and be there. Right there. Eyeball to eyeball, concentrating on that individual alone if I am going to help bring about a change in that person's life. I must listen. Listen with my ears. Listen with my heart. Listen with my soul.