We are continuing in making our way through the “I’ve been meaning to ask…” series. To read a bit more about it, you can click here.
Last week the first question was where are you from? This week, the question is where does it hurt?
Sometimes it’s easy to see when people are hurt, after an accident, a fall, a cut, or scrap – we are able to see where the person might be experiencing pain; other times, it’s a hidden pain … whether physical or emotional, we can’t always see the hurt that people hold. There are even times when we see someone walking slowly, with a limp and we assume we know their hurt: “oh their feet must hurt” or “they must need better shoes” and we assume we know what hurts; when in reality, it might be the persons knees or hips or back that is the source of their pain.
In 1 Samuel, we read the story about Hannah, and the pain and hurt she endured as she longed to have a baby and how the people around her didn’t really acknowledge her hurt. Peninnah, Elkanah, and even Eli at first, all avoid her hurt, or assume that something else is wrong; she is belittled, and her pain is rerouted to something else. Hannah suffered in silence for so long, and it wasn’t until she spoke her story, her truth, that she was able to feel at peace, and receive a blessing from Eli, and then go home and eat.
When we are willing to stop and ask the question “Hey, I’ve been thinking about you, where does it hurt?” and then be willing to listen, it might be exactly what the person needs at that time.
To be willing to have meaningful conversations, and cultivate connection with one another, we must continue to remain curious, and wonder about the pain that others hold, that we hold. To be willing to listen and willing to share and name it in our own lives, connects us with one another, allowing us to see one another, if only we are willing to ask the question, and listen.
We live in a world that we want to just keep moving, because if we don’t pause to name the hurt, if we don’t pause to listen to someone else name it, it doesn’t exist … then we don’t have to process or hold it. Because let’s face it, emotions and feelings are uncomfortable. And we simply want to just fix it, and if we can’t fix it, we’d rather not deal with it. But maybe these stories, allow us to remember that we don’t have to fix people, we don’t have to solve everything, sometimes we just need to be willing to show up and be present. Just be.
When we are willing to be vulnerable and enter the awkward spaces with people in their vulnerabilities and hurts of people – (people we know and don’t know), we also discover that these are the places in which Jesus shows up and is present with us!
“We must put ourselves in the uncomfortable places where human*Rev. Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum; Taken from the Sanctified Art Series / sanctifiedart.org / @sanctifiedart
beings live, breathe, and hurt—because those are the
places where we will also find Jesus.”
So maybe this week, as we engage in conversations, we don’t run, and do the duck and cover, or avoid, but we see the person, and asks the question, then stop and listen. Take some time to reflect on how you react or respond when friends or family are hurting, when and why do you pretend to not notice? Give some thought about who it is you can tell when you are hurting.
Here are some possible questions* that might help
What makes your heart hurt?
Where in your life do you feel vulnerable, humbled, or
What is your first memory of grief? What have you learned
from your grief?
How do you emotionally process your pain? (E.g. time
alone, therapy, exercise, time with friends, etc.)
Describe a time when you felt fully seen, known, and
accepted for who you are.
Share about a time you witnessed someone else’s grief or*Taken from the Sanctified Art Series / sanctifiedart.org / @sanctifiedart
pain. How did that experience impact you?
I do hope and pray that this will be an encouraging way for all of us to be present, and engaged in connecting, and re-connecting with friends, both new and old.
Portions of this post, are from my sermon on February 13, you can hear it in its entirety by visiting the the worship page.