In my Lenten reading of late, I've been struck powerfully by the scene in Gethsemane. Jesus went there in great need, and he brought his dearest friends with him.
So many times, we don't express the fullness of our need. But Christ told his disciples that he was hurting. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said. "Stay here and keep watch with me.” (Matthew 26:38)
But they didn't. They may have tried, but they couldn't seem to keep themselves awake. When Jesus returned, he found them sleeping. Talk about his friends letting him down. Still, he gave them another chance. Again, they fell asleep. He had asked them to watch and pray, and they fell asleep.
I've always been moved by the loneliness of the scene in the garden. In his song "Hard to Get," Rich Mullins describes it this way: "...when you are barely holding on / and your friends fall asleep / and don't see the blood that's running in your sweat."
There are times when we might show our need to a friend, for all the courage that vulnerability takes...and they fail us. There might be times when we are honest with someone...and they betray us. Still, our own experiences cannot compare to what Christ went through. After all, he knew it all. Their hearts. The future. The path he would walk.
But there are also times when we are the ones who fail. So often, when I know someone is going through a hard time, I think of them. I pray for them. But I seldom reach out. To be honest, I forget. I get caught up in my own little corner of the world: getting my chores done, finishing our school day, being with my children, maybe working in a little exercise. I completely forget until I'm in the shower, or changing a diaper, or up to my elbows in raw meat. "Oh, I was going to call ______." "I wanted to send that person a card!" And all too often, I fail.
But today I'm resolving to do better. If I know about a need, I want to reach out more. I don't want to be the one who leaves a friend feeling all alone. I want to be the one who doesn't just care...I want to be the one who shows it. After all, that's what I would want.