Those who do not run away from our pains but touch them with compassion bring healing and new strength. The paradox indeed is that the beginning of healing is in the solidarity with pain. ~ Henri Nouwen
Christ knew no sin, but joined the solidarity of our pain by willingly taking on the pain that should have been ours. Everywhere He looked He saw His people dying so He died to save us from dying. In that tortuous death He felt what it was like to be rejected by the Father, to be separated from the Father by sin. “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” He who knew no sin became sin for us in order to heal us.
Even though I have known for a long time, intellectually, what Christ did for me on the cross, I am just beginning to understand it as healing. Christ, moved with compassion, committed Himself to suffer so that I would not have to suffer. The etymology of “compassion” is Latin, meaning “co-suffering.” More virtuous than simple empathy, compassion commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another’s suffering. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compassion In the same way, if I am willing to enter into the world of the sufferer, if I am willing to feel their pain, that is when healing can begin. As I take on the pain, a resolve takes over that says, “Defeat is not an option.” The one needing healing, who is weak, ill, tired, defeated, can draw energy from my resolve. Pastor David Schriber calls it salutary empathy. (“Models for Intercessory Prayer,” 2009)
As I went about my day today, I really tried to listen to the person interviewing me for a job. I really tried to hear what she wanted for her business. As I worked in the clinic today, I listened beyond the words to see why the person was really at the clinic. When I came home to my husband for lunch, I really tried to place myself in his seat and feel what he was feeling as I said the words of my day. I can take lessons from my dogs. They really feel what I am going through, at least they act as though they do. I want to be like that.
My sister said today that she changed her cell phone number. I told her I would take her out of my cell phone and put her back in. She said, “When you do could you take 50 pounds out when you put me back in.” I heard her heart’s cry. She had lost 90 pounds and has gained it all back. She is having to start over to lose again. I feel her disgust with herself and her shame for uncontrolled eating. I have disgusting ways and am out of control in ways that bring me shame. I hear her. I hope she can feel the co-suffering as we draw energy from one another’s strengths.
With Ann as I walk with Him this Wednesday,