Using crutches is a new experience for me. I’ve discovered that I can get too merry a gate going, swinging like a pendulum, so much so that I have enough forward motion that I fear falling. It is a steep learning curve. People in the church and community have been so kind; holding doors, carrying things for me, and empathizing. Somehow it is easy respond to an obvious need. We are willing to help someone when we think we understand the circumstances.
What if the need is not so obvious? When we can’t see behind the response of a person with PTSD, a child with ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences like abuse, neglect, and more), the person who is over whelmed by debt, and the black or brown person. We might get annoyed, impatient, even rude when we make assumptions regarding the struggles of others.
Everyone has a painful load often hidden behind a quick smile, an angry frown, a surly remark or gesture. We can’t know what others carry. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, the words of compassion reverberate. “Comfort, oh comfort my people,” says your God. Speak softly and tenderly to Jerusalem.” “God, you are my refuge. I trust in you and I am safe.” God embraces us like “a hen who gathers her chicks under her wings.”
Tender and sweet words can guide our interactions with others. God cares for us as if we were made from delicate spun glass that is both strong and fragile. It is like simultaneously being a saint and sinner. God cares about us as saints and sinners because he knows that about us as well. Thanks be to God who shows us how to love and then loves us on into infinity. Peace and love to all.