I feel your suffering

My heart hurts.


It has stretched to ten times its size in the suffering of my close friends and community. I feel the heart pangs and tugs sinking deeper and deeper into my chest as she tells her story. He tells his. Or she doesn’t say anything at all and I just know what happened because of the words effusing from her eyes and pores. The deep knowing of others becomes manifest in my insides.


I started wondering why this is. Her depression doesn’t affect me, his struggle with sexuality doesn’t affect me, her concerns about her job don’t impact me. Her not being invited to the party doesn’t change me.


Or do they?


Tim Keller says that we feel the suffering and pain of those whom we love most. Plainly, the more you know someone, the more you feel their pain (Walking with God through Pain and Suffering).


What about estranged family members or friends who are, not friends anymore?

What about those who are more head-centered rather than heart or intuition centered?


I do feel the suffering of others no matter how far away we are in physical location or relationship. Even if we are estranged family or former friends.


Perhaps it’s because we had a friendship connection at some point or we did a lot of adventures together. Or because we had a lot of long, deep talks over a Texas sunset hike. Or that I have some sort of meager understanding of their desires and thoughts and truths.


I gander that it’s deeper than that.


The Spirit that connects us to each other and to God is interwoven into the entire composition of our being. When just one note is out of key, it disrupts the entire orchestra. When one musician decides to play a forte instead of a piano, everyone sounds cacophonous.


And we can take this a step further.


When one of us isn’t included, then we all aren’t. That’s how exclusivity works. It’s how we are connected; by silky, dainty, remarkably fragile heart strings that get spliced into 13 horcruxes when the other isn’t invited.


So ask. Invite. Include. That’s how we share suffering and joy and dance.


And. Most importantly.


That’s how love works.


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