I'm not putting a photo on this post because I could hardly stand to look at the photos I found of open wounds. I admire doctors and nurses who are able to work with skin and blood and wounds. I can do it when necessary, but unless a real person is involved, I don't do well seeing images.
I dedicate this post to the client I saw today who has had several miscarriages in a short time (and has no living child), who is angry, who wakes with nightmares every night since the most recent miscarriage, who fears she will never have children, and who gets told all the stupid things people say, "Everything happens for a reason," "God wouldn't let it happen to you if he didn't think you could handle it," "It'll all be okay and you'll see them in heaven."
People don't mean to say stupid things, as I told her, but that doesn't mean their words don't hurt deeply. I realize that some people mean well and are probably just not good with words. And some people have not suffered great pain. Others have and are afraid of it, and so are afraid to enter into another's pain. Some people, of course, just don't care. Some are too hung up on their own fear of not knowing what to say, so they resort to cliches rather than just listening and saying, "I hear you. I'm with you."
What strikes me most, however, from my own experience of people trying to address my pain, as well as what I hear from clients, is that people just don't want to accept pain and suffering. They want it to be over, they want to pretend it isn't as bad as it is. Some Christians are worse about it than those who don't believe. They seem to think faith means finding a way to make everything okay right now.
Sometimes the only thing I have to offer clients is the willingness to hear their pain and to feel the depth of it with them, to acknowledge that it is truly real, that it matters, that it may last a long time or even a lifetime, and that it is not to be glossed over. And at times it's clear that that is the main thing they need. I wish they didn't have to pay money to find someone who can do that, but at least I can offer it.
In our culture of instant makeovers, artificial white smiles, Hollywood happy endings, and sappy greeting cards, I was thankful to find this on a blog I was looking at:
Too often Christian theology makes light of suffering by immediately jumping to the future glory, or by looking for the ‘greater good’ that can be seen in the present. The problem of suffering remains a problem, and it must remain a problem. It is inevitable and indiscriminate, it disturbs our existence, invades our peace and destroys hopes. What is needed is a worldview that doesn’t pretend this isn’t the case. Rather, we need a worldview that acknowledges the inevitability of suffering and darkness.
God and suffering belong together, just as in this life the cry for God and the suffering experienced in pain belong together. The question about God and the question about suffering are a joint, common question… It is not really a question at all, in the sense of something we can ask or not ask, like other questions. It is the open wound of life in this world. It is the real task of faith and theology to make it possible for us to survive, to go on living, with this open wound. (Moltmann: 1981, 49)
from the blog All Things New: