This has been an especially intense, difficult week.
I find myself considering the words of Nouwen: “Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to the place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.”
As an advocate in the middle of a very difficult and complex situation I have been simultaneously full of the awareness that there is no speedy fix at the same time as longing for one. I am touching pain that is beyond what I have known myself. I have participated in conversations that, leading up to them, I was sure I had no words for. Finding the strength to compassionately respond has hurt, not because I don’t want to, but because the nature of the problem is that sad.
I am also reminded of The Beatitudes: that it is precisely in the poorness of spirit, the grief and sorrow that blessedness can be found, for there we can do nothing except turn to God. It is in this turning that I find hope. Hope is coming in the form of a whole host of people willing to help those hurting, meals showing up, friends checking in and gifts being thoughtfully given. My prayer is that those at the core of the crisis will discover that this hope is intended for them, and that while there is no immediate cure, help is on the way.
2 thoughts on “When Helping Hurts”
Well put, Erinn. I have been praying a great deal about this situation, and will continue to. God bless you.
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Sending prayers and love for you and those involved in this difficult situation.
With gratitude for your work and your blog posts. Elaine