Called to love

It’s under “favorites” on my laptop. And when you click on the link on our pc at home and begin typing letters, all the names of pages visited pop up. Caringbridge.org provides free online pages for people struggling with illnesses. Preemies, cancer patients, victims of accidents and those with ongoing health issues share updates and reflections on personalized sites. It’s a beautiful, practical way not only to share information, but also for the patients and families to receive support and encouragement as they face their battles. It makes it “easy” to bless others with words and prayers.

But reaching out, supporting the sick and hurting isn’t always so easy or convenient. Sometimes because you’re afraid. Like the other day when I hugged the young soul who just shared with me their fight against bed bugs in their home. I gave the hug but immediately worried, brain racing can you get bed bugs from a hug? (I don’t think so). But regardless of my fear, the hug was necessary. At times, reaching out, meeting needs, and caring for those hurting is difficult because so many suffer in silence. Mental illness, addictions, abuse, wayward children, marital conflicts, and money issues all exhaust and drain those encountering them. But often out of embarrassment, shame, guilt or simply hurt, they don’t tell anyone.
There’s no Caringbridge for parents struggling with kids making life-altering, dangerous decisions. There’s no website (that I know of) for those suffering from depression, bi-polar disorder or other mental illness to share their pain and receive encouragement. People facing financial ruin, lawsuits, addictions or marital issues rarely share their pain publicly. I’m not blaming anyone for this. I’ve been there and if no one pursues or acts like they care, it’s seems easier to deal with the pain alone.
However, Jesus never meant for life to be handled alone. My point is simply that then the only way to build up and encourage these suffering in silence is to be in their lives enough so that they either trust enough to share, or you’re close to pick up on cues.
It’s not easy to hug the kids with bed bugs or lice. It’s not easy to get close to someone hurting; they’re sometimes prickly as a self defense. It’s not east to love and share someones pain when your own feels overwhelming. But, if you claim to follow Christ, you’re called to a life of service to others…a life of loving the unlovablea life of being close enough to know and see the hurta life of non-judgemental unconditional love for those in pain.
Called to love.

Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.
~Mother Teresa

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