Thursday, February 23, 2012

Everyone is Hurting


Recently I was at the Murfreesboro Civic Plaza with Drayken (the toddler), waiting for the library to open it's doors. It was a lovely, warm day and we were walking around, climbing on the concrete, looking at the fountain and enjoying one another. While Drayken was climbing the concrete steps, I glanced up and saw a middle aged-ish black man walking toward me. I smiled at him and said, "Hello". He walked right up to me and said, "Will you pray for me?" I immediately said yes, that I would pray. He grabbed ahold of me tightly and started to sob into my hair. I learned that his name was Shawn and he needed prayers because people were so scared of him.

"Please pray that people will not be so scared of me."

I prayed with him right then and there with one eye on my toddler. I held him while he cried into my hair. I never felt scared of him. I never felt like there was any chance that he might hurt me. I asked him several times if he had somewhere to go, something to eat. He assured me that he did... that he just wanted people to stop being scared of him.

Wow.

Honestly, I admired this man. I mean, maybe he was mentally ill or something. Clearly he didn't understand appropriate social boundaries. But neither do I, to a certain extent. I understand social ques and boundaries just well enough to feel alone. I loved that for some unknown reason he felt like he could approach me, a perfect stranger, and ask me for what he needed... prayers, a hug, someone to hold him, and someone to not be scared of him.

I was honored to be that person for him.

Truth is... if it wasn't for my children, I'd not have physical contact with people for sometimes weeks on end. And the truth is that I, too, feel like people are scared of me. Probably not the in the same way he is feared... but in different ways. They are scared of how I'm different, or of my ideas, or how I voice my opinion, or how I dress, or how I parent my kids. They simply think that I. Am. Intimidating. Or weird. And that I am not someone they can get to know because I'm different.

I've felt this lonely feeling my entire life. Now I'm married with children and quite a few friends but I still feel alone.

I still hurt.

And I don't dare tell people.

Not only can I not possibly walk up to a perfect stranger at the library and tell them that I'm hurting, that I'm scared, that I'm alone and I just need someone to pray with me and to hold me while I cry (though many times I have been tempted)... I can't even do it at church or among friends or with my own husband.

What is wrong with us? As a people? That we can't just come right out and admit that we don't have it all together. That at church we aren't able to be weak and weary and know that people will be there to lift us up? And that with our own spouses there isn't even a safe place to fall?

Folks are hurting. I'M hurting. And I wish that we could just be more honest about this fact. And that there was more support out there for people who are hurting.

My son was just diagnosed with depression. He is in emotional pain daily, almost all day long. And since he's been like this most of his life, I can't imagine that it's going to just go away on its own. I can't stand the knowledge that he's going to go through his life having to keep that sadness inside of him. Like it's a taboo thing to feel sad. And it's certainly taboo to not be able to shake it on your own.

I wonder if there would be fewer depression diagnoses if we were allowed to ask others for what we need?


Look around you. People are hurting. And not just the people who have obvious pain in their lives. Not just the homeless, the drug addicts, the people starving in other countries. But everyone. Everyone is hurting. And everyone could use an extra hug, a prayer, a drop in visit, a small gift, a random card in the mail. I know I certainly could.

Pray and let God show you who you could bless today.
Love someone up.
Remind someone that they are not alone.
Let someone know that you aren't scared of them.

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7 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for reading and commenting Christy.

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  2. this is the second blog post i've read today that are in this vein...reaching out to people. i feel like i share my hurt too much, and people pull away from that because i'm too messy and they just don't have time for it. i appreciate what you have said here. maybe if other people shared their hurts, i wouldn't feel like such a freak for having my own.

    Kristi

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  3. Great story Mandy, and an even greater gift from God. God has a purpose for each and every one of us, and for our suffering. Sometimes our suffering allows us to understand and be there for someone else, like the stranger you met. I'm praise Him for the suffering He has put in my life, as it has made me more humble and obedient and has provided me with the opportunity to love and support others in their time of need.

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  4. Great blog post Mandy. It is nice to hear that other people think the same way I do.

    Melanie
    jimmel@comcast.net

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  5. YES! Yes, and YES!! If only we could all just BE there for one another!

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