Sorrow, suffering and pain resides in every corner of this world; we see and feel it in our own lives, and at times, in the lives of those we love. Yesterday, I had a post come across my Facebook account from the priest of a church we belonged to in Texas (we are now in Michigan). The words in the post really spoke to my heart. Father talked about the need to experience true sadness, but not for ourselves, for others. I thought about his words for a big part of the day and I realized that, as individuals, we focus too much on ourselves and how sad or hurt “we” are. We think about how unfair our life is. We concentrate on how bad “we” feel. After reading Father’s post, I realize that we have it all wrong. We should focus on others. This is God’s version of love and when we have that kind of love in our life, the magic of joy prevails.
This fall I experienced what I felt was betrayal by not one, but two people in my life. This betrayal was so unexpected, and it hit me like a ton of bricks knocking me right off my feet, emotionally speaking that is. Now, these people were not family or even a close friend, just people I worked with in community work. Each incident had nothing to do with the other. I felt hurt and unappreciated. Was I unimportant and dispensable? Did I just thrown away months of hard work and personal money on something that proved to be trivial and not wanted to both of these people? I thought I was personally helping to bring joy in each of these people’s lives. How could I have gotten it so wrong? I was embarrassed and felt like a failure especially since I am a coach and motivational speaker. What was I thinking?
Taking Time to Heal
The holidays were coming up, so I decided to step back from my coaching business, take time to heal and let God talked to my heart. I recognized that I was in a life struggle and I knew it was a teaching period. That did not make it hurt any less, but it did keep the depression away. I held onto hope and spent much time in prayer and finding my quiet. I kept my life low key and enjoyed hosting holiday parties for small groups of friends and family – 4 in all, and they were such joyous and magical get celebrations. Close friends and family prayed for me.
Sunday, January 12th, was the last party and the next day, I woke up good as new with all my passion, for coaching and helping others, filling up my heart to the brim. I was over myself and lessons were learned. It all made sense to me – why I had to go through the struggle and how it made me wiser and more experienced to get on with God’s work. Then I read Father’s post. He talked about how we need to take time out of every day to remember those struggling, in any capacity. We need to think about them so vividly, that we feel sadness for them, true sadness, true empathy. I had people doing that for me. Now it is my turn.
Empathy for ALL Sufferers
There are people in third world countries starving and being abused and usually it is this type of suffering we think of first; or the homeless or the battered wives and children. We need to stop and really picture what is happening to them right now and become sad enough to pray for their comfort and healing. The more we feel for their suffering, the more Godlike we become. This is crucial because the more Godlike we become, the more strength our prayers carry. I understood Father’s message in my heart in this way.
While there is so much obvious suffering in the world, we also need to think about the not so obvious adversity around us, like I just went through. What about the 75-year old lady who physically struggles to work at McDonald’s for $10 an hour because she only has a small fixed income. Or the bank teller whose husband selfishly left her, and her 4 children, and she struggles to take care of them. Think of your teenage neighbor who is being bullied on social media just a few feet from your bedroom window. Feel the pain of the young child, right in your very county, who was just forced into sex trafficking.
I encourage you to not only think about these people every day, but to feel their pain. Stop to give prayer for their comfort and healing. When we see someone we can help, we must compel ourselves to do so. Why? Because when we focus on others, we are showing love. Love is at the center of joy. Joy starts with a feeling of self-love and love for others. If we get it wrong, like I did this fall, we take the time to refocus and go on about the business of loving others through acts of kindness.
Don’t be Selfish
When you selfishly, go through the day with expectations of how others are supposed to treat you, especially when you are trying to help them, you will be disappointed. That’s what happened to me this fall. I pray that God shows us the way each and every day. When we fall, I pray that we realize that it is a teaching moment and that we ask God to make us stronger and wiser as we go through it. I pray, we then go on about our life, emotionally praying for others who suffer to be comforted, healed and much stronger and wiser for the experience.
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Find Your Direction in Your Quiet; I invite you to take some time to get quiet and feel true empathy for those suffering in the world. They could use a thought put out in the universe; they could use a small prayer.
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