It’s snowing today.
I wasn’t expecting it to snow. And yet I woke up this morning to a beautiful perspective of white. Clean. Fresh. New.
It happens that way sometimes. You wake up and life is different. Changed.
Have you looked around lately? Do you see?
Not just look, I mean really see.
See into the eyes of the person you know. The woman you don’t know who drops her eyes and looks away when you pass her in the hallway dropping kids off for school. The woman who turns her head just when you go to look. The one who can’t meet your gaze and yet wants so desperately to be known.
The friend battling cancer. The family who lost their child. The shattered childhood, the raging addiction, the hidden depression, anxiety, the marriage broken by infidelity, neglect, or the harsh taskmaster time.
Everyone you know suffers. Everyone you don’t know grieves. Each heart, made for eternity, breaks from pain of this world.
If you’re honest you know the deep searing pain of loss, betrayal, addiction, perfectionism, shame and unworthiness. You’ve felt the fear and ache of vulnerability and loss of control. Perhaps you’ve watched someone you love succumb to disease, addiction, hopelessness or death.
It’s the human condition.
“I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~John 16:33
If you’re not suffering right now, someone you know is. Someone you see in the course of your every day bears the overwhelming weight of pain and sorrow and loss.
And you will too.
I say that not to be morbid or weird or negative. I say that because it is true. We are told it is true in John and we have lived enough life to know it is so.
Time is not a frequent liar.
In the recent weeks I have become overwhelmingly aware of the pain that exists around me. In me. The sheer despair that stands right beside me, blinded by my fear, selfishness or just plain too-busyness.
We are not naturally compassionate. We are not naturally prone to love unselfishly or feel comfortable in another’s vulnerability or pain. Our tendency is to pull back. To give space. To convince ourselves we are intruding when we’re really just scared. Afraid to walk into the sacred and see.
Afraid to see our own pain reflected in theirs. Our own fears hiding in the shadow of their loss. The unbearable sense of foreboding joy.
It’s the brutal and the beautiful. To see into the heart of pain and not look away.
It’s one thing I’m convinced of, one thing I know for sure.
At least one thing I know what love does: Love looks pain in the face.
Love steps forward when there are no words to say. Love stands by when there are no answers to give. Love waits, love listens, love looks and it sees. It acknowledges pain. It sees the wounded heart.
Love doesn’t have the answers, it doesn’t pretend to know the pain, but it honors by bearing witness. By seeing and not looking away.
We all have pain. We all have loss. What we want is to be seen. Recognized for our humanness. Our sameness. Human to human, heart to heart, this is what heals. When we have the courage to step out in love, because love looks pain in the face.
Be a healer. Be a friend.
See the ones around you who are suffering and don’t look away. Step into the sacred and see.