Pray without ceasing.
But I can’t even hear myself think. My life is full of noise. Good noise. Good busy. Blessings in abundance. At the same time, I crave the quiet and my soul tells me to sit. To sit in the silence. To listen. To turn it all off and restart. Recharge. Be restored.
And to sit with the suffering.
But I think so often we don’t even see the sufferers. The ones suffering slip from our view. They escape or maybe we escape because sitting is hard and suffering is painful and we are so busy. And of course we have to be in the place to have something to give. We have to be able to do something. I mean, right?
These are all my thoughts as well. Until I go back to the place where I was the one suffering. I was the sufferer. I was surrounded by silence and stripped of my busyness and my eyes were opened wide.
Because I sat in the hospital room, next to the bed of my sick child. And the silence coming from his still body was deafening. And we went home with that. With the silence. With the stillness. With the suffering.
And do you know what other people did for us?
They suffered along with us. Yes, they did our laundry and our dishes and cared for our other children. They fixed us meals and coordinated our bill paying. They did the busy, but they also did the silence.
And when they sat in the silence with us, when they allowed their lives to slow down enough, they let their eyes be opened to the sorrow and pain. They let their hearts be shattered with us. They prayed without ceasing. They sat in the suffering, our suffering. The suffering they chose to endure with us.
And what a gift, even to this day. That someone would choose to suffer along with us. That love so strong and friends so great would endure heartache for us. That strangers and hospital staff would give their time and use their voices to pray for our child. To think that someone I don’t know and haven’t even met to this day cried on my behalf.
I think this is where my eyes began to see. When I began to sit with the sufferers and pray without ceasing and minimize my stuff in order to maximize the quality of my life. When I remember this, I can put aside the piles of laundry. When I remember this, I can get up early to sit in actual silence before my five kids wake up. When I remember this, I am moved to tears. To think so many hearts were shattered when my son died…somehow makes me feel incredibliy loved, both him and I and my entire family.
Our hearts still break, our silence still feels deafening, but our lives are full of joy. And for that I am thankful. And for all I’ve been through, I’ve realized what a gift it is to sit with the sufferers. What a privilege it is to see the need, to be able to pray and love God’s children.
Will you join me?
My devotional, Eyes To See, is coming out soon. I think I could have written so much more but I kept it brief. It’s a 30 day prayer journey to open eyes. Asking God to give us eyes to see people the way he intended, created in his image, as his children.
I will be going through this journey again. And I would love for as many peope as possible to join me! The book will be for sale very soon. But while you are waiting (and if you need a Mother’s Day gift), I’d love for you to check out my first book, Still (when all else fades away). It’s memoir of Thao’s life and our journey through his sickness and loss. But I talk about the people who surrounded us in that time and how well we were cared for. Through my suffering, I learned how to sit with people in theirs.