Friends, we weren’t meant to process our sadness or anxiety alone.
We were designed to meet in one another’s dark seasons, to be the church God created us to be.
This is true now more than ever.
Because although what we are each going through might be different than those beside us, we were designed to empathize with one another and not compare our battle wounds.
As I was in a conversation with a sweet friend this week we were talking about the emotions she was experiencing as our world is re-opening.
And although there was so much of her struggle that I couldn’t personally relate to, I could understand her wrestling with the thought of our communal re-entry.
When we are going through a loss or a transition it’s easy to process the other person’s hard thing through the angst of our own experiences, it’s easy to rush through their pain to share what we are going through.
But when we do this we miss out on some things, which are truly holy . . .
We miss out on being able to be present with that person in their pain and we miss out in being a source of their healing too.
You see, there truly is something sacred in the simple art of empathizing with others.
Because when we allow others the space to feel and to cry with us we become a place of their healing.
The sharing of tears naturally releases stress toxins and it is a therapeutic means to our healing.
I think this is why I love rainy days so much, there’s something about rain that reminds me of a good cry shared with friends.
These meaningful conversations birth kindness and deeper connection.
As I think about the days we are emerging from I want to share with you a few thoughts to guide you through what you might be experiencing.
When Joe and I were standing on the ledge of reentry following seven months of isolation and battling his cancer, I was scared.
I felt overwhelmed with the thought of returning back to a more ‘normal’ life.
I feared being misunderstood and even hurt.
I worried about how we would really do our ‘new’ normal.
I worried about the return of cancer.
I stressed about all of the symptoms lingering and healing never coming.
But what I found in all of these emotions and worries, was my real need to be heard in my raw state . . . to be able to share my fears and to be met with both grace and understanding.
One of the most important things I’ve learned in turning worry into worship is how God is a voice who has proven to be trustworthy when it comes to my pain.
I realized there are only a few voices that earn the right to speak into us in times of deep grief and sorrow, because when we are in vulnerable places like this we all need people who will be life-giving and supportive.
We pull one another out of seasons of darkness when we choose connection with others in grief, even when it’s messy and it’s burdensome.
Friends, in these days and months ahead as we reenter our friendships and as we reenter our ‘new’ life we need to realize we don’t have to process our pain alone.
When we embrace sporadic walks, long and lingering confessions filled with lots of tea/ coffee and even the sacred meetings on our back porches – we do the sacred work of inviting our unrelenting grief, our hidden fears and even all of our uncertainties to be named and bravely spoken.
I think as we walk into this unchartered territory we need to strap on a whole lot of understanding and grace realizing we haven’t journeyed where others have been bravely walking.
And our friends might have met the hard things we have gone through with ease, as this season could have been the rest their lives have needed.
The mystery of grief is it’s never processed exactly the same by any two of us, because everyone has their own stories with their own battle wounds and their own hard + holy healing to do.
As we bare one another’s burdens in real time, I pray we all come out of this season better and we exemplify the church of healing God created us to be.
Let us find sweet ways to unite after this long pause of separation.
I love what one of my favorite writers pens about this . . .
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.”
Friends, as we inch toward one another once again may we remind one another we don’t have to do life alone.
And as we walk together even when the road might seem long and arduous . . . let’s remember the journey home is always hard.