belay: To secure (a mountain climber, for example) at the end of a length of rope.
when belaying someone, the belayer when ready says "belay on". this command lets the climber know the belayer is ready to keep them safe. the climber responds "on belay" to let the belayer know they've clipped in and are now depending on them for safety.
i have a friend who's going thru a difficult time. i want to help them but i feel helpless to do so. i've offered my prayers and encouragement as i can and while i know prayer is the most important thing, my prayers feel small and meager.
for some reason, i started thinking about belaying. it's so tangible when you're belaying someone. you feel the tension on the rope, you pull out slack or give the climber slack in the rope as requested. it's a tactile way of helping a friend, of keeping them physically safe.
if there's such a thing as an emotional belay, i say to my friend, belay on. i'm here for you. i only wish such a thing could be as tangible as the rope belay.