When deep pain finds us, we often feel very alone. Pain runs so deep that it has a way of isolating us. Especially in this culture of social media, where everyone’s best foot is always forward (or at least the illusion of a best foot). Individually and collectively, we avoid pain. And the experience of it, along with the obvious hurts, can make us feel like we are failing, uniquely struggling to cope with the deep sorrow of tragedy.
One of the shocking things about my wife’s miscarriage was that it opened our eyes to how many women struggle with miscarriage and how prevalent infertility issues are. Most people aren’t flying flags of prenatal loss. It is one of those relatively hidden hurts. When we had our experience, it was like being let into a sad sorority, a tragic fraternity of sorrow and pain.
Our hearts ached for these numerous others who were experiencing the same tragedy we were. And an amazing thing happened - the people who had been through it served us (with helpful advice, empathy, and the general feeling that we weren’t ‘the only ones’). And then a truly amazing thing happened. After our ordeal, we started to meet more people struggling and had a chance to talk to them about what they are going through.
The Apostle Paul says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” There is some comfort in someone empathizing with your pain.
Our struggles are an opportunity. Not just for us to gain a true perspective or for us to grow and learn and persevere. Our trials qualify us to love and serve others. They invite us into unique opportunities to care for a hurting world.