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When we are going through a difficult time, one of the supports we need most is a kind person to show up, to be with us, to walk with us in our struggle, so that we don't journey alone. In this insightful little piece, chaplain and author Jim Kok, founder of the Care and Kindness Ministries (, expresses the perspective of someone looking for that kind of support.

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 . . . but 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 will 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, cheerful 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. That you might answer in a half-minute what I’ve struggled with for weeks. I’m also afraid that 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.)

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 sentence that says, “I’m with you.” 

But I’m afraid…

  1. …you’ll think I’m too weak to deserve respect and responsibility.
  2. …you’ll explain what’s happening to me with labels and interpretations.
  3.’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.” I’m sure what I want is for people to have the Good Shepherd as their model. People, who in their own way, bring to others an experience of:

“The Lord is my Shepherd
I shall not want....
Yes, even when I walk
Through the valley...
You’re with me 
(walking with Me).”

Find this, and many other helpful articles, on the Care and Kindness website.


Such a valuable gift, to walk alongside, to listen with love, in acceptance rather than in judgment. Lord, help your people to be those who can walk alongside. Thanks for the article!


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