Power of Presence


By Mark Eades

I was reading an article by Jim Burns called “The Power of Being There” the night that I was sitting in a PEDS ICU with the family of a boy from our youth group – three states away from home! While on vacation in Michigan, sixteen-year-old Patrick had a major asthma attack that had caused him to stop breathing. In just a matter of minutes after the attack, his brain started shutting down.

The family had contacted me about six hours after the situation occurred. They were over six hours away from home in a hospital they did not know, in a part of the country that they were not familiar with, and their son was in a life-threatening situation.

I made a quick decision to go. Less than two hours after they contacted me I was in a rental car on my way to them. I had been with the family for a couple of days when I started to read Jim’s article and it made me think about how important it was for this family that I was there. This wasn’t really about me at all; it was about the power of presence. When I first arrived at the hospital the dad and mom were having trouble processing all that they had just heard about their son. But with my familiar face to talk to and share what they heard they were able to think better. I really didn’t do much; I just listened and listened and listened. That was what they needed and it was an awesome God moment.

During that time we found out that their son’s brain had stopped working. The fact that I was there to just be a sounding board to talk about their son, to cry with, just supporting them by sitting with them was huge to this family. They didn’t need words or even actions – they just needed to know someone was there for them. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I jumped in that car and went.

The next time you get a call to be with a hurting family remember what they may need is not your advice, wisdom or expertise – it may simply be your presence.