I began writing this in May and the interesting thing is that while there were different things going on then I am experiencing the same emotions today. I've added to my writing from May to share more thoughts about this sacred space of sharing in the pain of others. I hope you find it encouraging:
It has been a difficult week and there is no one reason why. Tears have been close behind my eyes for the last few days and event after event has caused them to come forward. From personal attacks and vicarious trauma to the multiple deaths the friends and family within my circle are facing, it has proven to be an emotionally exhausting week.
I find myself weary of mind and body.
In these times I simply want to get all of my guys home, wrap them in my arms and cuddle up to a simple movie while mindlessly snacking on whatever is put in front of me. I don’t want to have to think or feel or know or understand what is happening in my world right now. Numbing out and shutting down for conservation of energy and preservation of emotion seems about right.
There has been a serious disturbance in the force and I want to retreat.
While defensive reaction would be to retreat or hide away my feelings and family I know that often times pressing into the pain or keeping my eyes open in the midst of the struggle is the best thing I can do for myself, my family and those in my life who are dealing with their own trauma and are in need of support.
When a loved one dies, a marriage ends or deepest needs and longings are unfulfilled, hearts break and lives are irrevocably altered. But there is always a new day for the living. The sun rises and sets as it always has despite our personal fragmentation and confusion. And those who feel they are falling apart need "glue"; they need the strength and support of those who might help to hold together for a while.
How can I retreat when it might just be my turn to be the glue someone needs right now?
I have found there is something sacred about being present with others in the midst of their pain; to be allowed to share in the weight of a heavy load or invited to understand sorrow at its deepest level. When the pain is not my own but I feel the pang of it, the sting, the burn, the utter mourning and cry my own tears in response I am partnering with the wounded. We are all wounded souls and while I may not understand or know first hand the hurt specific to the death of a child or a parent, a divorce or separation, I do know pain and can understand it's impact on a life. So I accept the invitation to join in the troubles of others; the invitation into that sacred space. I hold out faith that their joy will be restored, life will be rebuilt, that their own faith will be strengthened in the midst of their suffering.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."