Last night my best friend confessed: "I think it's official: I'm having a mid-life crisis. I have money squirreled away. One part of me says, 'Use it wisely', and another part of me says, 'Spend it and have the time of your life.' I'm not sure how to respond to the stress of my career, all the transition in my life, and everything I'm facing.'"
My response: "Well, I just saw this deal on Travelzoo and we could go to Tuscany."
She looked at me blankly. "I thought you were going to give me a wise sage answer."
"It comes with airfare, a rental car, and four-star hotel every night--six in Tuscany and two in Rome!"
"But where's the spiritual advice?"
The moment reminded me of a conversation I had many years before. A friend of mine confessed, "I'm struggling with depression, boys, and overeating. I've put on more than twenty pounds in this emotional roller coaster of stress and now none of my clothes fit. What should I do?"
"I just saw some great athletic pants with stretchy drawstrings for under $20 at Target," I suggested.
"But I thought you were going to tell me to pray more or read my Bible more."
"Sale ends Tuesday night, " I said.
For weeks, she remained off-balance from my response and never failed to remind me of it.
Sometimes I think the best possible response to someone isn't always a spiritual one. But a practical one. One that says, "I'm in this with you. I'm not going to try to change you or correct you. I'm going to be with you and be your friend... even in this." More often than not, when I encounter the big struggles and questions in life, the last thing I need is a 5-point sermon. I would rather know that my friends are there with me during times of crisis, ready to walk with me down the streets of Tuscany or the aisles of Target.
Or maybe it's just me. But often that's the response I hunger for most.
What response do you long for?
**Photo courtesy of here