It occurred to me at around 11 pm, holding a tired and jet lagged baby, just next to his little sleeping tent. He didn’t want to be rocked, he didn’t want milk. He didn’t want a song or a back rub. He definitely did not want an explanation — this is an unfamiliar place, but Mommy and Daddy are right down the hall, brother is in the room, the surroundings will feel more familiar soon, with some good sleep you’ll feel better in the morning. Can you say waste. of. breath. Not a cuddle or a stroll or a late night snack–

He just wanted to be held.

I had plenty of time to think about it, since it was my turn, sitting there doing the holding, and it occurred to me that perhaps we all feel that way sometimes.

When a friend of mine has a problem though, I’m not very good at that holding. I’m more of a come-up-with-solutions or let’s-look-on-the-bright-side kind of friend. What-can-I-do-to-help-fix-it and what-are-the-perfect-words-for-this-situation and how-can-we-solve-this-in-a-thirty-minute-phone-conversation.

But I remembered in the dark there at 11 pm, Job — declared righteous and good by the Lord — sitting in ashes and bemoaning the loss of his health, his livelihood, his family. And I remembered his friends — who just sat with him for seven days because they saw he was in so much pain. They held his problem by being present.

But once they started opening their mouths at least half of what they had to say was useless. He didn’t deserve the lot that befell him — somehow inside God’s sovereignty, it just happened. The long diatribes and arguments were a waste of breath.

And the best thing they did turned out to be the thing they did right at the start — the being present in the midst of the suffering. The holding.

Maybe this holding is a good thing for me: learning that where my pride would rather do - the simple act of being present can be more valuable than a heap of well-put-together words. Whether we’ve been alive sixty days or sixty weeks or sixty years, there are times when we just need to be held — held in the presence of God, and held by one another.

But we who pace in front of the microwave struggle with this concept: the truth that sometimes time is a big part of the answer. There are problems that can’t be solved in a day. There are issues that aren’t resolved with the right words. Questions that aren’t answered by Google. The things we like to call opportunities in disguise — it takes time to unravel those costumes.

The best stuff in life can’t be ordered at a drive-thru.

We can plant, we can water, but time — there has to be time for the blooming.

I pondered all this until tired baby was well-enough asleep for me to gently lay him down again. Can we learn again this long-forgotten way of being? To simply sit in the presence, in the arms of our good Father — not needing words, not begging answers, not hollering for something to change about the situation — could I trust enough to just be held? To be still and know?

And can we be the type of people who are willing to hold one another? In prayer, in presence, knowing how love is sometimes spelled?

It’s peaceful inside the room as I close the door behind me. I’m amazed to think my presence — just being there — was enough.