Dont just do something, stand there 1



Kin Women MAY 2018 Blog Images (14)

Don’t just do something, stand there.

Okay, so here’s the best quote in the world for me when it comes to feeling deeply,
“Don’t just do something, stand there.”

Sometimes, this thought undoes me.

Like when someone is sharing a difficult confession, looking for help I can’t give or expressing their hurt and suffering.

I want to DO something. Anything. I want to make it better. To tell them it’s only for a season and life is on the up. To confront the source of pain and put it right. Or just provide the antidote whether it be finance, friendship or anything else that comes to mind.

But too often, there is little we can DO. And so much more we can BE.

Apparently this quip was first attributed to a director working with a young actress who was madly weaving across the stage rather than delivering a performance of substance.

But I first heard this quote used meaningfully in a radio interview with a retiring Australian doctor who had worked as a young man in Papua New Guinea. He saw himself as a healer. The one making sure all was well with people’s physical bodies. But people died. He couldn’t always change that. And what was he to do with the suffering that followed?

He learned that he was to DO nothing.

When a person died in a village, the family would lay out a trail of lights along the river leading to the family hut. This was the invitation to visit. Across the day and night the people would come. They would enter the hut. Stand still. Wordlessly acknowledge the family. Wait. Then return home.

It was enough.

Enough love. Enough support. Enough encouragement.

The act of being present said everything the family needed; we see, we care and we will come.

I’m practicing standing there.

Offering my presence and love. Hoping it will be enough and knowing its all I’ve really got to give.


About Kelley

Kelley is a speaker, author, overseas aid worker and perpetual student. She is passionate about women and gender issues, both in the local and international context, which underpins her enthusiasm for kinwomen and its contribution to women ‘living their finest life’. In 2014 Kelley completed a Masters in International and Community Development before establishing The Foxglove Project. Foxglove is a registered charity focused on supporting international development projects that are sustainable and driven by indigenous leadership. Kelley’s paid work requires her to travel extensively to evaluate and support projects supported by Australian funds. This experience and networking enables Foxglove to partner with outstanding overseas agencies delivering real opportunities for the poor and vulnerable to lead independent self-determined lives. Kelley combines these passions with a love of family and faith. Across more than 30 years of marriage, Kelley and her husband have worked through many of the challenges of building a relationship while raising three sons. Their boys have now finished high school changing the dynamics of family life and relationships. One of her great joys is sharing parenting lessons and learning from good and bad (sometimes disastrous) experiences. She uses humour and common sense to talk about the everyday challenges facing parents in today’s context.


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