what could be: pain welcomed


this is post 3 in a series called what could be, some dreams i have for “the church.”  thanks, too, for all your feedback from the last one, what could be: God expanded.  you can read my response in the comments section.  and whether you’re a regular reader, silent lurker (i do it, too), frequent or once-in-a-blue-moon commenter, or just passing by, welcome.

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a few weeks ago when my son jonas had his coffee table debaucle, i noticed something that i have thought about now and then–during the whole crazy experience i didn’t for a minute try to make him stop crying.  i let him express any pain he needed to express.  he was in and out of hurting, amazingly articulate about what he was feeling and experiencing, but trust me, when that needle got whipped out in the emergency room to prepare for stitches, it got ugly.  my oldest two kids and a few friends were in the room with me & i don’t think we’ll ever forget that poor little guys’ yelps.  during that moment, my daughter julia and i leaned over him, stroked his face, and whispered that we were with him.  and we just let him scream as loud as he needed to. when it was over, we stepped back and took a deep breath, knowing he had made it through the worst.

i hate pain. for many years, i was the consummate pain avoider, the one who tried to sweep it under the rug, pretend like everything was just “fine” (we all know what that means), and put on my happy face.  this had absolutely nothing to do with church.  i had been hiding pain long before i ever set foot into a church or really truly dedicated my life to following Jesus.  but what i found is once i did become a christian and entered the wonderful world of discipleship that i picked up on an important cue:  um, we don’t talk about pain here, either. i will be honest. i was utterly and completely relieved.  i had so much pain stuffed down so deep–shame from my past, insecurity, and an overall feeling of just being a less-than in all kinds of ways.  but what i found in the churches that we were initially in was that i actually didn’t need to worry about the pain, i just needed to worry about the promise.  the promise of new life, of wholeness, of strength and peace and power.  the only bummer is that the pain was all still there, it was just coming out in wonderfully helpful ways like performance addiction & perfectionism (they get you far in ministry circles).   you see, pain will always be expressed; in some way, shape, or form, it always comes out.  the beatitudes, a key guiding text for us as christians, all reflect some form of pain & the promise that in that pain the kingdom of heaven will be experienced.  the question, in my opinion, especially for those who are trying to follow the ways of Christ individually & corporately, is then: “how can we learn to welcome the pain instead of run from it?  how can we be people and places that accept pain as a universal experience of which none are exempt?  how can we be less afraid of pain & acknowledge its presence & purpose & its power?”

i am currently co-facilitating a wounded heart group at the refuge for women who are healing from sexual abuse.  dan allender, one of my all-time favorite authors, talks about inviting pain as a guest at our dinner table. how do we treat guests that come to our house for dinner? we treat them kindly, we engage with them, ask them questions, get to know them. we don’t ignore them and pretend they aren’t there.  we welcome them into our presence instead of slamming the door on their face.

my experience with church has been that on the whole, the door is slammed on pain’s face.  there is a subtle & sometimes direct aversion to welcoming pain into our lives, our communities. i totally understand why.  it sucks. it is hard to be in the messy, bloody, unpredictable places of people’s real lives & let them into ours, too.  into the addictions, job losses, shame, insecurities, abuse, divorce, wayward children, deaths, doubts, loneliness, disconnectedness, depression, the you-name-its.  gaping wounds, when they are actually exposed instead of hidden,  umm, not too pretty (and we all have them whether we live in houses or on the streets). so somehow as people & churches we send a message that says “please put a band-aid on that, do something to make me feel more comfortable, and then i can be in relationship with you.” we don’t want it in our face, so we send people to go “get healing”, we recommend professional counseling & certain books to read, and if the church is really big you can sneak into a recovery program, get what you need for a few months and slip back out.   all these things separate “healthy” people from “hurting” people and carry with it a mixed-up meta-message of thinking pain can be separated from our regular experience instead of being more honest that really, all people are pretty desperate.  it just looks different for each of us.  Jesus was fairly clear that he came for the sick, not the healthy, and i believe of course that we’re all sick.  it’s just a matter of recognizing it, embracing it, welcoming it so that God can enter into it & bring his continued healing to it.

alcoholics anonymous is one of the most powerful & thriving underground churches in the world.  there’s no doubt they have hit upon a kingdom principle that i think is missing in so many churches:  a safe place to express pain begins the road to healing that exponentially changes lives & hearts & relationships.  hmm, how’d they manage to pull that off and not overtly use the word “Jesus”?  i think what it is is AA has a culture that says “yep, we’re all desperate, and we know it.  we know it enough to walk in the door, put our butt in the chair and admit we have a problem.” i think we can learn a lot from the 12 steps, as people, as churches.  here are just a few that come to mind about some of my dreams for us as Christ followers.  what if we–as people, as churches–could be:

aware of our pain & unafraid to say it. one of the things that makes AA safe is that everyone there is aware of their pain.  pain is the great equalizer, the playing-field leveler.  that’s why at a good recovery meeting you can have a very successful businessman next to a nearly homeless guy next to a girl who’s waitressing to put herself through college.  part of our role as Christ-followers, i believe, is to stay in touch with our pain, our issues, our tendencies, our addictions (we all have them), so we live in reality instead of denial, offer the world and each other (and God) our real selves instead of one we constructed to look good & avoid pain.  the first step says “we admit we are powerless over our addicitons & life has become unmanageable.”  i always translate this to “the pain has gotten great enough, i can’t pull this off (whatever ‘this’ looks like) on my own anymore.” there are so many different degrees of pain, each unique to our own experience and situation; i don’t think we should compare pain or measure our own against some else’s, i just think we need to get more honest about what’s really going on inside ourselves, how it’s affecting our lives & learn to acknowledge it in relationship with others.

a safe place to feel. in the beatitudes Jesus says “blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  i’m pretty sure most of us can say that the american culture isn’t the greatest at mourning.  we are uncomfortable with pain & sadness. it gives us a level of anxiety that we aren’t too crazy about so we do what is most natural:  try to soothe & smooth over instead of just sit with.  i think of how hard it is in groups for people to just let someone cry.  kleenexes get whipped out & comforting words start flowing & next thing you know the person is blowing their nose and we’re moving on to the next person.  what if we learned to hold the space, back off from our trite words of wisdom & just let them be where they are at for a while?

givers of room (space & time & grace) to heal. for the most part, real healing & life change takes time.  and real healing can never, ever, ever be measured by us.  we are not God.  we can never fully know what is going on in a person’s heart and mind and life and while “fruit” is not something to ignored, we had better be darn careful we don’t assume that certain fruit is a sign of anything.  God’s creative.   whether you can stomach that there’s not necessarily an overtly christian focus to AA or not, one of the things that creates the likelihood for real change is time and space to get there.  while there are some very specific markers to movement, at the same time, there’s an understanding that relapses are part of the journey & that it’s a long, long road to change.  there ain’t no quick fixes or expectations that life’s all of a sudden going to be different.  but what there is is a hope, for change & healing that comes from hearing about others’ experience, strength & hope, too.  i think it would serve us well to learn this kind of long-haul patience.

again, i only scratched the surface, but i’d love to hear some of your thoughts & reactions to becoming people & communities that are less afraid of pain.

here’s what i hope:

that we’d be people and communities who would get better and better at inviting pain to join us at the table, to welcome it instead of push it off to the side, pretend it’s not there, or tell it to go figure out a way to feel better before it knocks on the door again.  to be unafraid to enter into the darkest places of other’s lives, our own hearts, and trust that God is there, moving, healing, restoring in ways that our limited perspective can’t seem to see.

God, help us be people who are willing to welcome our own pain & the pain of others.

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar is dedicated to creating safe and brave spaces for transformation and healing in real life, online, and outside. She co-pastors at The Refuge, a hub for healing community, social action, and creative collaboration in North Denver, co-directs #communityheals, a non-profit organization dedicated to making spaces for transformation accessible for all, and is the author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.


  • Man, Kathy, are you reading my mail or something? I love this post. I hate pain too, but I’m finding that in order for Jesus to heal my heart, I have to be willing to go into those places, to feel the pain. I’ve discovered that when I do, He’s there every time.

    At a recent bible study, the metaphor of “cave dwelling” was used for shame. Afterwards I sent an email to a friend (one of the pastors, actually) – here’s an excerpt:
    “I think God does do some of His best work in caves, if we cooperate with Him. The first step in cooperating with what He wants to do in us is to acknowledge our brokenness, our need. That’s one of the things that I’d really love to see change in the church. My experience with every church I’ve attended has been the same – I know I’m painting with a pretty broad brush, but this is my general observation – Christians are a group of people who act like they have it all together on the outside, but behind closed doors many are falling apart. I’m not saying that with a critical spirit at all, but because I’m certain that Jesus didn’t die intending His body to be a bunch of chronic cave-dwellers, hiding in shame and fear while pretending nothing’s wrong.”

    I look forward to your next installment! God bless you.

  • Just got through commenting on the last post when this one popped up!

    Not sure that I want to invite pain to dinner (had enough of that last week — http://blog.visionnavigator.com/2008/11/gut-wrenching-insights-seriously.html), but definitely think we ought to embrace it when it comes calling 🙂

    Interesting quote I heard a few weeks back with regard to pain from Andy Stanley:

    Sometimes God sends it, uses it, causes it, allows it — but he always can leverage it. The key is not to think of what God is doing to us, but rather what He wants to do in us and through us.

    Reminds me as well of the chorus from a Michael Card song about Christ’s suffering — Known by the Scars:

    The marks of death that God chose never to erase,
    The wounds of love’s eternal mark
    When the kingdom comes with its perfected sons,
    He will be known by the scars

    Perhaps our pain and wounding is part of what God uses to equip us each uniquely for his work?

  • can I quibble with your phrasing just a little bit? We don’t welcome pain into our lives per se, as if the pain itself were some good . . . we welcome truth (I might even say, Truth) into our lives, which I realize you get to further down into your post, but still. The pain IS there as you say, and the point is not to lie to ourselves and each other and say that it’s okay when it’s not. But the pain itself is an indicator of hurt, and the hope would be for the hurt (eventually) to heal and the hope would be for the pain to go away . . . we might even say, for us to be able to graciously show pain the door rather than just locking it in the closet and trying to ignore the screaming.

    SciFi writer Elizabeth Moon in a scene in which a character is processing through an old trauma. “Nightmares are not a symptom of insanity. Something awful happend to you; you had nightmares about it: a normal reaction. But your family tried to pretend it hadn’t happened, and that your normal nightmares were the real problem. That’s a failure to face reality–and being out of touch with reality is a symptom of mental illness. It’s just as serious when a family or other group does it, as when one person does it.”

  • Kathy, allowing pain and refusing the shame has been one of the true things that helped Thrive work.

  • Kathy,
    You have such clarity of insight into life that I am constantly blessed by your words.

    The concept of pain is not one that we gladly enter into but it is there is all of our lives. “How fortunate are you” to mourn is a piece of life that is difficult to live in but is real and gives each of us an opportunity to journey together.

    It is sad that for the most part “we” have chosen to segregate those in “pain” and “being unhealthy” from those to whom we want to be with. It seems that the model of Jesus is just the opposite and your speaking “truth” into the discussion is very comforting to myself and my journey.

    Again, thank you for clearly stating the case and giving me food for thought and questions to ask myself as I try and journey with others.

    Peace be with you,

  • Hi Pastor Kathy,
    Thank you so much for your kind reply comment. Please do check my blog (kupercaya.wordpress.com) and see the BIO section for some of the work I’m doing in Chinatown. (It’s kind of long – just a formality! =P)
    Also, I thought you might be interested in a very short post I recently made about being a woman leader here in Chinatown. (http://kupercaya.wordpress.com/2008/10/29/twice-as-much-half-as-good/)
    Looking fwd to rdg more of your posts!
    Thanks for this one – I’m coming up on the 1yr anniversary of my father’s death and it’s good to realize the environment in my church is opening up to pain and grief. =)
    =) Jasmine

  • An absolutely awesome post! Hope you don’t mind I will link it later from my blog (where I am it’s bedtime!)! So very true.


  • yes. and I really liked what sara said too. with this post & sara’s response combined. I’m speechless and have nothing to add. but I’ll probably go cry…. which is nothing unusual.

    Thanks 🙂

  • Sent my son to read the rubberband post only to discover you’d posted again. WOW. Sent my Kansas City son exerpts of the rubberband post–wish I were a bit more computer sauvy I’d just link. Anyway–I thank you once again.

  • Kathy,

    Over at my humble little site, I wrote a blog in response to this, and linked to you. 🙂

    Thank you again for your wisdom and voice.


  • I usually welcome pain, but not to my dinner table. Usually we meet at the bar.

    And I am so very reluctant to engage with the pain of others, but mostly because I can’t seem to medicate my way through it. Somehow Christ in me sucks up their pain and I begin to feel it, too. Then it matters to me in a way I feel compelled by, so I end up praying and calling and serving them and sometimes even saying things that seem innocuous enough to me but which actually seem to have impact on them…like Jesus said it or something.

    This engagement with pain is quite costly, be our own pain or someone elses. I do not like it one bit, but I quite frankly doubt that there is any real transformation in our life without it.

    Plus, I seem to recall Jesus saying something about suffering being part of the deal if we were to follow him, which is the part we leave out usually when we do an altar call.

    Love you, Kathy. You rock my world.

  • im am such a lazy writter! getting started is the hardest part. i will come screaming the next time i see you.

  • You have really touched on the heart of the matter with this one. I have been one to experience the unease, discomfort and dismissal of my pain from others. The silver lining to that cloud is that I am so much more aware of my own discomfort in dealing with others’ pain and have made great strides in not trying to play the role of Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is way more effective when my “gotta fix and encourage” nature steps out of the way.

  • Would like to reply to Randy. Loved what you had to say. What I’ve experienced some is as I walk with my own pain, wear it like a shirt, somehow people hear you in surprising ways.I think this is what Randy is writing about. I have been amazed by friends saying, ‘I remember that you said…’ And I’m thinking, ‘Did I really say that?’ It’s like my heart, my pain can touch someone else heart/pain in a more real way if I’m not engaged in the process. It’s all about being there in my own messy bloody self listening and loving. I can’t really fix myself and I know I can’t fix anyone else. All I can do is try to stay in touch.

  • ooooh! pick me! This is SO my soapbox, and I am so glad that you wrote on this subject!!! Seriously, seeing my early church’s response to pain/grief/suffering was the initial part of my serious spiritual frustration. In my experience, being in church leadership in the past is akin to having the unspoken license that you have “arrived” and need to deal with grief quickly, only speak with widsom after “it” is dealt with, and nicely seal it with a shiny ribbon & a well thought out prayer. When I first heard that grief is not linear in a book , I felt a ridiculous amount of freedom which started my journey to actually feel. It is such a powerful message to allow another person the freedom to enter in to his/her pain without judgment.

    New Song Center- a place for grieving children & those who love them, where I intern & give my heart to, has a misson to be a safe place where hurting people can experience whatever they need to after a death. What I love so so much is that it is not therapy, but support, and that even though it is not affiliated with any religion or church, it is the most a-mazing community. NSC believes that everyone, even little kids, have answers that they need inside, and that our job as facilitators is not to problem solve or to counsel, but to be providers of an environment that it is ok to hurt & to talk about it. I think that a lot of times, in the church and out, others shy away from the wounded, in fear that there will be questions asked that can make one feel at a loss or backed into a corner. In reality, my journey, and walking with others through deep grief, shows me that we only need open ears and a willing heart. 🙂

  • steve – yeah, throw up stories always get to me 🙂 it is so funny how we all have our different words that tap into something for us and i just made the connection when i read your comment & then reflected on your post. that word “leverage” is hard for me. i think it’s all my business-in-the-church trauma, maybe?? but i do so believe that God is always at work and will use all things to somehow reveal himself to us, to bring light into darkness. i truly believe that & it really is what has strengthened my faith, maybe more than anything else, to see redemption–real redemption–in people’s lives (including my own) i do so believe that our pain, our story, is the unique contribution we each have to the kingdom & that’s why owning it and integrating it into our faith journey is so important, in my opinion!

    sara – SO well said. i definitely can’t quibble over that one 🙂 yes, that is a great clarification of words that i think are so helpful. it could easily be re-worded–where “the truth about us–our story, our lives, our struggles, our past, our present–are welcomed.”

    jonathan – will use that line “allowing pain & refusing shame” soooo good. and yes, isn’t it interesting how compelling a combination that is in community?

    sandra – i really liked your post on this and yeah, i think there’s danger in living in the cave forever, that where would the cross & redemption fit in if pain was all we focused on? but without ever entering into the cave, without ever getting in touch with pain, how can we ever really know healing? the smoothing over & pretending does not get us closer to God or people, in fact, i think it’s just the opposite! ps: thanks for the link, too.

    john – well said. well said my friend. hope we get to hang out soon.

    jasmine – i will definitely check it out! as you tell your story of grief and loss i know it will open up other people to their stories, too. i think on the whole that could be almost a universal truth (note the small ‘t’ :)) thanks for sharing & i will continue to be thinking of you and the ministry that you are doing out there. i really am excited to learn more about it.

    mimosa – thanks for stopping by. how’d you hear about the carnival? yeah, lmk, would love to check it out; i am really glad to see some people fleshing some of these thoughts out on their own blogs, too.

    randi – you always make me smile 🙂

    amy – thanks, you are always such a great encourager!

    minnow – that’s fun. i think the best way to share the link is just hit on the blogpost title and then control + C the address in your browser, then control + V it into your email. see if that works, that would be so much easier than piecing it together!! it is fun that you are passing it on….

    melissa – what is your group like?

    ryan – i haven’t had time to comment yet but i loved your post & the words you shared. i am so glad that you are in a community that can hold pain and know that because of your experience you will be able to offer safety & space in a way that many others won’t understand because they haven’t tasted it. ryan, you are such a beautiful writer. see ya next week!

    randy – best line of all the comments: “And I am so very reluctant to engage with the pain of others, but mostly because I can’t seem to medicate my way through it.” oh, my friend, that’s the best. yeah, and so then like you said we end up feeling way more than we really want to feel, hmmm, kind of like Jesus, eh? i hear a lot of people go “well, we just need to have good boundaries!” and while i am a huge proponent of good boundaries, i wonder how often this card gets pulled as a way of protecting ourselves from our fear of pain. ah, lots we’re all learning, that’s for sure. love you too my friend.

    keith – i am used to screaming 🙂

    jenn – i do think the “what do i do in this moment to make myself and them feel better?” is the most dangerous ground. i do it all the time, too, thinking somehow some words i say will take care of it. it’s a fine line, for sure, but yes, it is the holy spirit that is the one who moves & reveals & heals. i think the more i develop a greater trust in God & the long haul journey the more i can let go of trying to make it happen for other people. glad it stirred up some good thoughts.

    doug – yes, i so believe that there’s something compelling about our painful stories that people connect with, remember; it makes us safe, it lingers. i do believe that is why people are drawn to you, they say “doug knows a bit of where i am coming from” even if the pain is totally and completely different, there’s some weird thing that sometimes we can sense that says “this person can relate to me and won’t be afraid of where i’m at.”

    stacy – beautiful, that you are seeing up close and personal how a community can function when it holds the story, embraces the pain, trusts the journey and points toward hope. i think we have a lot to learn from them, a secular agency, isn’t that interesting?

  • Hmm, I think from Andrew Jones’ blog. Maybe from somewhere else too, but I can’t remember where.. I blog hop sometimes =) (like channel surfing) I actually linked you already, but from my Finnish blog which is under a password, and in Finnish so probably wouldn’t be of much use to you! =) Unless you have sime secret Finnish skills?? 😉 I’ll probably link it from my English blog sometime in the future as well. Now I should be studying.. 😀

  • Kathy:

    Thanks for the post today. Over the last 30 months, our family as been realing in pain from church abuse and my families medical situation.

    The one thing that we did not have and still not fully have is a place to truly express the pain and hurt. For us, it may have to do with being on staff at a church BUT yet that is another false perception that we as an organized church have created.

    I hope and pray that your hope becomes reality in churches and communities across the US and the world. We need to create places where pain is welcomed.

    I know that in our journey, it would have helped.

  • A friend shared this poem by Oriah with me a while back. I think it sums up a lot. Finding someone like this is, maybe, once in a lifetime, if that – at least in my experience.

  • Kathy:

    I have been chewing on this post a little more. The one word that I think it breaks down to me is the following:


    But, as I think about it, it almost circles completely back to the first post. For you see, if I have trouvle “valuing” people, that is when I have a hard time being vulnerable. I have trouble valuing people when I am not being humble.

    God is kicking my butt to some place and I am not quite sure where it is at – at the present time. Maybe your posts will lead me to that place.

  • Kathy – You asked about our group. We are a fairly diverse group, ages range from 28 to 60’s, singles and families. One family from the UK and another from Greece. Two are new Christians, came through an alpha course this year, one isn’t a Christian (she’s been coming to the group for a couple years now) I guess small groups is where my heart and passion has been ever since I had my first introduction to church in a small group. Most of the group isn’t shy about sharing what’s going on in our lives. We met on Tuesday night and there were some tears during sharing time – I thought of your post. We have served together, have BBQ lunches where any kids, spouses get together too. I guess for me our group is where the real close and personal aspects of being the church come into play.
    The actual nights are your pretty standard, social, bible study, prayer setup … but we often tend to wander off into tangents.

  • I feel a book coming out of this series, Kathy. At least prayerfully consider writing something in a printed form from this series. I too am going to link this in my blog. I am someone who can truthfully say God has done an emotional healing in my life, mainly through a wonderful Vineyard church that was honest with me and with themselves. Now, I am a little more healed, a little more honest, and able to help a little with others on their journey. Thanks Kathy.

  • mimosa – yep, you’re right, no secret finnish skills here! thanks for passing on some of these thoughts, though, i would love to continue to hear what it is stirring up there.

    jeff – the dilemma of pain for leaders is worse, really. there’s this weird quandry of being in trauma but having to get the job done and knowing certain people sign paychecks and how much honesty & messiness can everyone really tolerate. true safety is rarely found in these moments, and that makes me so sad. being on a team now that can handle pain is sometimes freaky, i leave meetings now a little stunned at my teammates ability to stay in on the messiest of moments. i think so many leaders are taught to find places outside of their communities to find support because somehow people inside of the community won’t be able to fully deal with the messiness. while i think that’s a total cop-out, i also see the truth in it in so many circumstances…it can be safer outside. hmmm. lots to think about, thanks for sharing. and “vulnerable.” the scariest word of all. transparency is one thing, that is just being honest. vulnerability means actually allowing other people (and God) in, like really in. oh yeah, that’s brutal.

    tracy – oh thanks for the reminder. i remember seeing that cartoon, too, i love all of david’s stuff. so good.

    katherine – beautiful poem. love it. may we learn to be one of those people…and hopefully find a few along the way, too.

    melissa – sounds like a really great mix!

    laurie – oh trust me, blogging is way more fun than writing a book! thanks for the encouragement, though, and knowing that some of these thoughts are stirring the pot in other places makes it all worth it! that’s what i love about 2 corinthians 1, i always mention it, but it’s so true–we pass on the comfort we have received. once we are in touch with pain we are so much more willing to stay with others who are in it…vaya con dios en tu trabaja! (lo siento, mi espanol esta muy mal! :))

  • This comment may be a bit tangential and out of sync – but this post reminds of something another author wrote: “And if I ever wonder about the appropriate “spiritual” response to pain and suffering, I can note how Jesus responded to his own: with fear and trembling, with loud cries and tears.”

    I have a disease that sometimes causes amazing amounts of physical pain. Several years ago, when the pain was really bad – and pretty obvious – several leaders in the church I was a part of commented how “godly” and “strong” I was because I “never complained.” The problem was that I almost never spoke of the pain around the church – like at all – and this was seen as a good thing.

    It wasn’t very long before I figured out I was emotionally hurting way more than they were ok with – and sent off to go get fixed, healed, well, put back together again… before they could be close relationship with me again.

    I am terrible at dealing with pain – my own, or that of my friends and family. For me, being less afraid of pain, my own or that of others, means being less afraid of all the unanswerable questions that so often come with pain, sitting with the unsettling doubt and fear, and trusting in God, wresting with the lack of trust and faith in God that I am reaching so desperately for, letting myself (and others) express all the tears and cries and pain I try to hide – and all manages to leak out anyhow…

    Lately I have noticed when I welcome the pain of others, it kinda also forces me to deal with my own pain that I try to hide and stuff away or pretend is not there.

    No real point to this comment. Just some random thoughts. Cool post. Yeah, not many leaders saying hey, let’s welcome pain! a very needed thing in this broken world. I hope I can keep learning how to welcome pain – my own and that of others.

  • 512 – thanks for sharing. i love what you pointed out here, that people you had no idea what was really going on because you couldn’t share it there. i think that is so what happens in so many communities, there’s not a safety for pain to be released so we assume it’s not there, but that’s such a farce. most people’s lives, their real lives, include lots and lots of pain, there just aren’t that many safe places to express it. i have always believed the church was supposed to be “the safest place on earth” but we all know how not-true that has tended to be! i also so agree with you that being less afraid of pain means we have to live with the unanswerable questions that go along with it. argh, it is hard! but it is good. thanks for sharing.

  • I have linked it up form my English blog now too if you want to check up! There’s not much conversation going on in my blog though, so what’s stirring up is merely my thoughts =D by the way, so agree with your last comment. I think the biggest hindrance really is to find a safe community, they are extremely hard to come by.


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