We all have pain. It’s one of the strings that run between us. Tied in an infuriating knot around each of our hearts. So, when we encounter someone else pulling away from the sensory overload of life in pain, it should tug us toward them. But we run from our own pain. We pretend it doesn’t happen. So what then happens is that when we feel that tug, we ignore it, explain it away, or minimize it. Because we refuse to deal with our own hurts, our hands are empty of the gold we’ve mined digging through our own suffering. At best, we give stale platitudes. At worst, we shame the other for feeling what we have so politely hidden away:
You should get over it.
You should be glad it’s not worse.
If you’d just have more faith.
I think part of us believes that acknowledging the pain of others somehow diminishes our own. Or it could be that your loss, your hurt, your depression, reminds me too much of what could be waiting around the corner for me. We’re afraid acknowledging another’s pain might break the fragile peace we have with the universe, reminding it we’re past due for a beat down. Whatever it is, the others’ pain makes us uncomfortable more than it draws us in.
Can’t Hold Back
An interesting thing about Jesus is that he didn’t seem to want to do a lot of miracles. I say that because when he did them, he regularly asked the receivers of raised daughters and eyes that could see to keep it between them. He probably knew that if he became known for miracles, people would start following him for the wrong reasons, and he wouldn’t be able to do what he needed to do. But I don’t think he could help himself.
When he saw tears, nothing could keep him from wiping them away. He couldn’t help himself. He wouldn’t hold back. He was too much in love.
Who Jesus is, is who we become. God said he’s conforming us into his image. We’re becoming like Jesus. That means we’ve gotta dive in when we see pain. Suffer with one another. Be covered in one another’s tears. Dare to step into the shadow at the risk of exposing our own raw wound. We’ve got to be like our savior. I mean, that’s not our nature, so I don’t imagine it’s that easy to do of our own strength. But we’re a new creation, with a new nature. And we need each other. I don’t think we’ll be able to help ourselves.