My sister, Bethany, is a potter. She recently bought a kiln. One day I was standing around admiring some of her first finished work from her new kiln. I picked up a narrow bar with three melted shapes on it. It was simple and spoke to me of suffering. I asked Bethany, “what were you thinking when you made this?” Bethany laughed out loud and said, “Those are witness cones.” Long story short to her I had just complemented the pop out thingy from the Thanksgiving turkey. Witness cones literally tell the potter that the kiln is heating correctly. That set me thinking about how witnessing life changes us. Of course the more I thought the more complex the subject became. I have decided to attack the ways we witness one at a time.
Some days all you can do for another person is stand watch with them. They are struggling with issues in their lives that you can’t fix. In those times you can listen, be there, empathize and pray. But you cannot fix it for them and you cannot fix them. I am a listener and I am a fixer. It is so hard not to try to fix when silence is best. Watching another person struggle can leave you demanding of God, “Why! Why are you allowing this person to suffer such pain? Why? God why? If God chooses you may get to see the impact that person’s life has on the world around them. Other times you get to see a person grow and change as God works through the hard times. But most days you just walk with other people in the moment. In those times you stand witness to life, the good and the bad. It changes you in profound ways.