Nothing Is More Beautiful
While traveling this summer, I got an update on a local news app that I subscribe to and read the tragic news of a hit-and-run fatality near my neighborhood in South Austin.
A woman in her 60s, a recent cancer survivor, was struck and killed while out on a walk by a driver who was speeding in her residential neighborhood. The driver not only hit her but panicked and ran over her as he tried to flee, which most likely caused her death.
After I read that story, I went for a walk and couldn't stop thinking about it. I was struck by the cruel irony of the whole thing. But I've been a pastor long enough to know that asking God to answer those tragedies is not productive.
God doesn't offer explanations for most of our difficult questions, at least not ones that we consider helpful. As the Scriptures indicate, "God's ways are not ours." So even though I wanted to, I didn't ask God, "Why?"
Instead, I wondered out loud, "How are we supposed to hold that kind of pain?" I also asked God, "How can we face tragedies, trials, tribulations, and tumult and not buckle under the weight of it all?"
And then I thought about my pain and all the ways I try to avoid it or make it go away. I felt at that moment that perhaps what I wanted was not to find healing but to simply make the hurting stop at all costs.
Maybe that's what most of us want.
The thought occurred to me then that maybe some painful things just have to be felt. Perhaps feeling pain reminds us that we can't fix everything. We can't wave our hands and make it disappear.
It just needs to be felt to be understood. We need to experience it before we can learn what it is to heal. This is not about giving up; it's about letting go.
Author Sarah Kay once wrote:
No matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Nothing is more beautiful than how the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it's sent away.
While we can't heal all of the pain in the world or even our hearts, we should never stop trying. And our efforts will come with a cost that I believe needs to be borne. They come with the cost of feeling the pain we are trying to heal.
This is one of the glories of being created in the image of God. We are created to be feeling, loving, caring beings whose hearts break for the brokenness in the world around us.
And we also know that we, too, are broken. We share the brokenness as sure as the same stardust in our bones, the light in our eyes, and the fire in our spirit to improve the world and us along with it.
So we feel the pain and try not to wonder why it comes.
Instead, we receive it and wonder how it will move us to heal and be healed. We welcome it because we will never honestly know what it is to be human without it.
And then we trust that the One was raised from the dead by the power of the Spirit and will take all of the pain we feel from within and without and do what the One always does---restore, renew and resurrect.
May you find the courage and the peace to allow yourself to feel what pain you encounter today, knowing that it doesn't last forever and will not overcome you.
May you discover pathways to healing and a genuine connection with the Divine that brings you new life, joy, and amazement. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.
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