Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Bench

The door flung wide open. A little boy ushered by his teacher walked into the school office. Floods of tears accompanied his uncontrollable sobs as his chest heaved to catch his breath.

His face red and wet from crying he took his seat on the edge of the bench. He was condemned to time-out. My heart broke as I watched his tears stream down his face.

There he sat his head sinking lower and lower as the minutes ticked by. His 5-year old shoulders hunched over in attempts to weep in private.

His offense?

He didn’t obey.
He wasn’t responsible.
He couldn’t focus.

My heart broke for him. I desperately wanted to go to him. Not to lecture, but instead validate life is hard, but there is grace. I sat from afar holding him with my eyes as he cried it all out…

All the frustrations,
the pressure,
the expectations,
the fears,
the disappointment,

…and the shame.

I knew just how he felt.

Really, it might as well been me. Sitting there on that bench with my shoulders hunched in crying it all out. Even today I too have been at fault for disobedience, irresponsibility and the inability to focus.

But must he— or I —cry alone?

Who will come alongside this boy in life to validate his heart and tell him of the great grace there is for him? Who will accept him even in his lack?

Who will accept me even in my lack?


If you see me on the bench crying and my head hung low in shame for the wrong I’ve done or presently doing—please…

Please don’t let me cry alone.

Don’t leave me there on the lonely bench to sink deeper into shame.

Come to me. Hold me. Wipe my tears with grace. And sing to me of the One who loves me in spite of what I do—or don’t do.

And friend, I will do the same for you.

On the journey with you,

~What are you dealing with today that you need to just “cry” it out?
~Do you have someone safe who will accept you no matter what?
~How deeply connected are you to an authentic community?
Thank you for sharing your journey.

Relevant Worship
How He Love by Kim Walker-Smith (Jesus Culture)

Reflective Scripture
2 Corinthians 12:9
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”


  1. This is so well written. I am so thankful for authentic community (my friends) who let me cry when I need to and who cry with me and extend much grace. If I see you on the bench, I won't let you cry alone. <3

  2. Everyone, no matter what age,size, gender, nationality, orientation, style, - needs someone to identify with the pain and offer comfort.- The 5 year old boy's pain is no less traumatic than the adult who can't pay the mortgage, or the baby crying for its bottle, its just different. We don't need someone to tell us its gonna be o.k. as much as we need to know that person has gone through pain before too and that we are not weird or wrong for experiencing the emotions of pain.- Thanks Laura for a beautiful illustration of that

  3. Beautiful post. I'm here for you. Today I'm not the one crying but have been blessed to be the arms around some friends at work. My heart, like yours in this story, break for their broken spirits. We are designed by God to live in community and it builds all of us up, whichever role we are playing; whether the 'supporter' or the 'supportee.'

    Again, thanks for the forum to provide support to one another.


  4. I have been on the bench while others have walked right by me with eyebrows raised, when they asked me "what did you do now?" and then the..."oh you must have deserved it." But it is those who came and sat by my side, put their arm around me and were just there...that made me whole. Thankful for the reminder, that this is what I long to be...a bench warmer for those who weep. Love you friend.

  5. I'm often reminded of Job and the great job his friends did initially in simply sitting with him, in the midst of his mess. But then they open their mouths. Oh God, please let me sit and wait and love...and keep my mouth shut!

  6. You are amazing! So glad God gave you the message as you gave of your time for the school. There is a story every where we turn. God's hand is always on us! I will look at the bench now differently using it as a chance to pray for those that sit on it during the day. May God use me in new ways to continue to bring Glory to Him. It will never be the same bench!