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Saturday, February 15, 2020

When someone you know suffers...

The book, Where Is God When It Hurts?, was first published decades ago so the statistics are old, but knowing the human heart I don't suspect they've changed... 70% of marriages where one partner is diagnosed with a terminal illness result in divorce. The healthy partner just leaves.

As a Widower, I can attest first hand how people struggle to be around suffering. They smile awkwardly, use popular phrases that are often wrong, and look really uncomfortable, shifting posture with expressions that can't hide the awareness they want to run.

My friends I've made after becoming a Widower say I have an amazing talent for sitting with people in hard stuff and being there for them while I let it be hard. Those skills were hard earned. Not very long ago, I would run away from my (late) wife when she cried. I literally couldn't handle someone else having pain. I'd tell her we could take when she was done crying. I was awful and broken. Luckily, we found a better place in the last year and a half before she died. Then when she died, I was thrust into the need to develop the skill of processing emotions. I couldn't fall completely apart, I had two boys who needed me to pull through. So I leaned into the pain, a skill my late wife had just taught me in the year leading up to her unexpected death, and I pressed into friends, groups, and counseling.

I found healing for my heart.

I found that pain doesn't need to be cured but embraced.

I found pain can give us an acute appreciation for the pleasure moments.

I found, as we Widows comfort each other, we usually only needed an ear and shoulder and a hug.

The suffering don't need you to save them, you can't. You can't make their suffering stop. They are drowning at the bottom of a pool. What you can do, is sit at the bottom of the pool and drown with them.



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