"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Monday, December 6, 2010

Watching Pain

I am watching pain. All around me, on every side, I am watching and witnessing pain. And, when I keep my eyes turned toward the pain, allowing it to touch me,... it is excruciating. It hurts to watch.

It is no wonder we go stiff or uncomfortable when someone is hurting. It is no wonder we tell people, "don't cry" or say trite things like, "I understand" or "praise God..." or "it is only temporary". It is no wonder that Job's friends could only remain silent for a time and the just had to speak...

We hurt when we watch it, and we feel the need to fill the space or make it better. or... do something to make it go away. Sometimes I just want to make the pain stop and pretend it isn't there.

When we feel another's pain, and allow it to touch us, it is excruciating. And, we don't know what to do with this pain. We don't know what to do with tears when they are shed in our presence. Sometimes we want to run from the pain...

Isn't it easier to just turn our heads and ignore it? We escape. Sometimes we take the sight and shut it away into a locked place within... or throw it out entirely, dismiss it and close our eyes.

Our world, our sin soaked world, is so engulfed by pain! Our earth groans and moans. We know it when we take a moment to look, to read, to listen... or to just let them cry. And, when we let them cry or share or moan, it touches a place of pain in our souls that is excruciating.

Christ wept over Jerusalem. He sat on that donkey and wept. The people around Him cried out, "Hosanna". Praise rang out around Him... But, He didn't smile in that moment. He knew the pain as He entered Jerusalem. Looking forward and knowing the lost souls, His broken brothers and sisters, He wept.

And, then He entered in... He cried for Jerusalem... and still, He rode on. He road into the pain that day. He didn't turn the donkey around and escape. In tears, He moved forward toward the pain.

He wept that day in the garden... knowing full well the cup He must drink. He wept and prayed and asked the Father to take it away. ...make it stop! ... but, still, He got up and entered in.

We know from Hebrews that He did this because, while tasting the pain, He also knew the joy that awaited Him. He knew the joy that awaited us. But, He still had to choose to enter into the pain, to let it touch Him, and to be hurt... deeply wounded ...

He had to endure the pain. He got up from that garden prayer and walked forward to carry the cross. He let it touch Him.

Teach me, Jesus. Help me to learn from You, my humble brother. Teach me to endure the pain, to face it, to walk toward it. Help me to not try to fix it, to answer it, or to ignore it. Help me to enter in and carry my cross. Remind me of the joy that is before me, before my family and before my friends. Teach me, Jesus, to let the pain touch me this Advent season.
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