Sunday, November 20, 2016

All Our Wounds

People are suffering a lot in the present time. They are expressing their fears and anxieties in all sorts of different ways. These are human persons, children of God, whose pain cannot be dismissed and must not be mocked.

When suffering people try to express what they are undergoing, we should listen with compassion and respect, recognizing that we have much to learn from them. We must be willing to be provoked, even when their expressions are strange or inadequate, or they use terms that require more consideration or that are too easily misunderstood.

Often they don't know how to say what they really mean. Let us listen, respond from the heart, and try to help, to be constructive, to stand in solidarity with suffering people and to foster healing.

Of course, we will find false voices and opportunists in any group of human beings. There are those who are putting on a show, or exacerbating problems with ideological interpretations or false solutions, or trying to use the suffering of others as a pretext for violence. Realism requires a discernment that gives attention to each person in the places of their pain, and a patience that does not allow compassion to grow cold.

Suffering people are easily manipulated, because they are weak.

Some people have suffered in silence for a long time, and perhaps have felt that no one cares or understands their problems. They want to be heard, but they are also wounded, and sometimes wounds can make people lash out at others who, they think, are to blame.

People who are afraid and in pain are driven, by their fear, into conflict with one another.

What is hardest for me is when I find myself seemingly "in the middle" of such conflicts. I am pulled in all directions, and feel so overwhelmed that I don't know what to say to anyone. If I am quiet for periods of time, it's because I am at a loss. It's an excruciating silence. I don't have words not because I think I can somehow stand "above the fray" but because it's tearing me apart.

What's next in the days, weeks, and months ahead? There may be a moment of calm, but I hesitate to believe that any "lull" represents an improvement in the situation rather than a further retrenchment. This is a conflict that has poured over us all year, wave after wave after wave in this awful drenching storm of the year 2016. For me, personally, it has often been overwhelming.

But my desire is to stand in solidarity with those who are in pain, whatever may be the sources of that pain and however difficult it may be to comprehend from my own point of view. My own experiences and struggles have taught me what it's like to have suffering that people don't understand or don't take seriously. We are all afraid of the "strangeness" of one another, and I am no better than anyone in this regard.

I'm sorry that I don't have words to express this more adequately.

It's too dark and I'm too fragile and broken by my own weakness and smallness of love. I don't know what to do except suffer this weakness, and try to bring my wounds and all our wounds to Jesus.