"Any prayer requests?" was asked, almost as an afterthought at the end of our quick tutor meeting this morning before CC.
I don't think there has ever been an opportunity to share prayer requests before in any of these meetings, but today there was, and one person had one.
While setting up her classroom that morning she had received a call from her doctor's office, saying that they needed to follow up on a recent mammogram by getting additional images of one of her breasts. While this may be totally routine and insignificant, it felt scary and threatening to this woman.
As she told us this and started to cry, I was kind of shocked to see that although all the caring women in the room were certainly looking sympathetic, nobody moved toward her. Sure, the two gals sitting on either side of her started patting her arm or whatever. But all I could think was
but nobody did. (We prayed for her, but we didn't gather around her.)
And then I sat there questioning myself. Most of the women in that room know her better than I do. I wasn't sure if her personality is such that she would find a group hug helpful, or just opening a floodgate of tears right before she has to walk out to teach a class full of children.
I could understand so well that thing that people do when they don't know what to do when hard things are happening. I was doing it. And I did very little. She sat and cried, and I felt like she must feel so alone, and nobody was making her feel safer or less alone.
So I learned another lesson today: Taking action to show tangible evidence of care and concern will not be regretted. Taking little or no action will be.
I wrote her an email this afternoon and told her that I'm sorry that I missed the opportunity to show her more clearly that I care.
Next time I hope to do better.