Sharing the pain of another person is a deeply humbling task, in large part because there are simply no words that can make the pain go away. When the people we love pour out the woundedness of their hearts before us, our love and empathy—and our egos—yearn to respond with words of comfort, words that can make sense of it all. But, as those who have known deep pain can witness, words cannot
approach the place of suffering. They cannot stem the flow of anguish and grief. They are powerless. They are as ineffectual as using stones to dam a spring: the water will find some way to the surface.
—Charles A. Parker, in Compassion: Thoughts on Cultivating a Good Heart, compiled and introduced by Amy Lyles Wilson (Fresh Air Books, 2008)
Who has offered you the gift of silent presence when words couldn’t reach your suffering? Join the conversation.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.
—Romans 8:26 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
With my eyes, I choose to see with compassion. With my hands, I choose to give and touch with compassion. With my feet, I choose to go where I can deliver compassion. With my heart, I choose to love with great compassion.
(Pause for a minute of silence and imagine how you can show compassion today.)
The Upper Room’s RESILIENCE: Healing Practices for Mind, Body, and Spirit is just around the corner, September 30-October 2, 2021. This online event will be a time of reflection and interaction, and an introduction to spiritual tools that you can use in your own healing journey or the healing journey through which you lead others. Register today.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.