how are you?

via Flickr user  amanda tipton

via Flickr user amanda tipton

"Hearts reach hearts," said our pastor this past weekend.

Such a simple thought, yet one packed with meaning. People are created for love and fellowship, and it's one heart that reaches another. If the care is not there, people tend to be turned off.

"People don't care what you know, till they know that you care," is perhaps an overused saying by evangelicals. But it's true.

I read recently that having a loved one deployed is akin to dealing with a severe long-term illness or family trauma. It's an incredible stress. During my husband's most recent deployment, a year, one thing I noticed was that, over time, most other people became accustomed to the situation and quit asking me how I was doing. (I'm not saying this to make anyone feel badly, it's just the way it was.)

I think with any ongoing stress or difficulty, people react and respond appropriately in the beginning, and then life goes on.

For them.

Trust me when I say that, for the deployed family members, life is not the same, no matter how well they seem to be doing.

So at the 9-month mark of his last deployment, when someone suddenly asked me out of the blue, "How are you?" tears sprang into my eyes, and I had a hard time not turning into a sobbing mess. Just the love and concern in their face did it. Such a simple gesture....such a profound impact on me.

So I pray that my experiences have made me more mindful of what other people are going through. I'm sure I'll forget too, for life does get busy and my memory tends to be short. But it seems God keeps nudging me to remember to be mindful of those around me, and the the problems and storms they are facing. To not be afraid to express care and concern. Sometimes we don't want to interfere, but trust me, those who are hurting need you... are begging for you to 'interfere.'

Your care may be the one thing that keeps them from slipping into despair. Let your heart be unafraid to reach out to another. are you?