Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Community of Sufferers

It was a beautiful day today. That's often true in the fall. Most of the bugs are gone and there are so many nice, bright days.

But then there are gloomy days too.

Fall is an honest season. I much prefer spring because, for me, it seems that time of the year gets better as it goes along. Fall just gets colder and darker. Kind of like life.

Depressing? Maybe, but it's true. All of us eventually go downhill. Quickly or slowly our little lives come to their earthly end. We are like the grass of the field. Grown and soon gone. I'm reminded of that often in my work as I spend time with those who are suffering for one reason or another.

I know we don't like to think of it that way, but it's good for us to remember this truth: We are a community of sufferers. All of us are bound for suffering. As I spend time with those who are aware of their mortality, whether it's because of physical illness or depression or fear, it helps me to remember I am no different. At the moment, things might be better for me, but I am brother to those who suffer today. And someday, I will be in their shoes.

Can this make us more compassionate? It can if we remember our Lord Jesus, who came to share our suffering and who, in the end, promises us a forever springtime. We may not see it in this lifetime, but we know the promise of Jesus resurrected life! It will be ours because of His love!

May the Lord bless us as we care for one another in our suffering tonight. I hope no one feels they are all alone. And may we look forward to the joys beyond compare in the world to come. In the meantime, don't forget to spend some time caring and listening and just being with your brothers and sisters who suffer now.
Added Friday afternoon: "Being with" our brother and sisters is done in many ways, but particularly through befriending.

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