Love is affected by the pain of others – and helps

by Craig on December 30, 2010

She is hurting – this child of God.

She’s in a circle of pain.

The brain attacks her heart and pummels it until it can’t beat

or terrifies it so that it can’t



It takes a thought,

any thought,

and races with it so fast that nobody could keep up.

And it twists and turns and tears at the fabric of the thinking until shreds fall to the ground.

And my heart hurts.

And I can’t be there to help.

And all I can offer are words – and prayer.

And she’s been gracious enough to tell me they’ve helped.

I can’t do more.

But I can do more of the same.

There was a time when my heart wouldn’t have been moved. The further I get from that time, the more I see how much repair was needed on my heart by the God who specializes in that sort of thing. I just didn’t know how to love until Our Lord taught me.

He was the master of this love.

Seldom were the footprints of Jesus and his disciples alone. Like birds around a bird feeder people with problems flocked to Our Lord. There were always poor people, sick people, sad people, and hungry people. Love finds it hard to pass by a need without feeling the pain and helping, and Jesus was, and is, love.

He would find the one person in the crowd with the deepest need. He would go down the narrow alley to find the person unable to be part of the crowd. He would visit homes of the sick, or places the poor hung out, or just the trees in which they hung. (Luke 19:1-10)

One of the best things about Christianity is that it’s not about faith in a far off God who only theoretically cares. It’s about Jesus, who being God, actually did and does care.

I took me  decades to really understand what Our Lord meant when he told his apostles he had to go. When he was here, he limited himself to the length of his arms, and the distance his feet could travel. He knew he had a world to touch, teach, heal and redeem. To do so meant being free of  the limits he set upon himself.

I am thankful that his heart has finally rubbed off on mine. Sometimes now, I listen, and I hear, and I feel, and I hurt just because I’m near hurt. And I still have so far to go.

So today is about following that example and finding someone with something going on. Then I’ll do more than understand. It’s no big thing to feel. It’s not even a great accomplishment to help – especially when it comes without the feeling. But to do both – at once – to feel and then be moved to immediately help – there’s the magic of love.

I won’t have to look far. And I don’t want it to be just one day. This small bit of help I can give, this particular one deserves some extended effort. I will give what I can, and pray regularly to the one who is not limited by the length of arms, and the distance feet can travel. I will love. I’m a Christian. It’s what we do. It’s no big deal.

That’s determination you read in those words.

I better not mess this one up.

In God’s love.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie December 30, 2010 at 3:34 am

What an important love this one is. It can help someone more than we know, just to know we understand and are moved to help. God bless your determination as you love and pray. :)


Craig December 30, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Thank you Deb. Just thank you.


Susan December 30, 2010 at 2:16 pm

You won’t screw it up. :) you know you can hurt right along with the hurting and still open your heart further to assist. As a matter of experience, the more I hurt *for* someone (or something, a la critters), the more my creativity kicks in to show compassion,offer sustenance, assist with whatever is needed–and know in my aching heart what is *not*. Because at that moment your heart connects,and it isnt about you feeling better for having tried, it’s about coming up with meaningful help. Your heart knows. Give yourself some credit! :) -s-


Craig December 30, 2010 at 2:24 pm

I may mess it up Susan. I gave myself more than enough credit for too many years. I’m balancing it now :)

God Bless, thanks for reading.


Susan December 30, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Facing it,recognizing it, knowing it isnt about you giving yourself “credit” for trying-that’s the credit I’m talking about. Your heart is so open now,it feels so much more, staring the hurt in the face, in the wounded eyes, and feeling your tears burning when your suffering friend/acquaintance/stranger has no more tears–that’s the credit you’ve come to deserve & own. It’s there-i can feel it. And it hurts but it’s a good hurt because only now can you really make a difference. Does that make more sense?


Craig December 30, 2010 at 5:12 pm

yup – thank you.


Eryn {mamahall} December 30, 2010 at 5:37 pm

absolutely right on. Amen. And God bless you.


Craig December 30, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Always a joy to know you were here Eryn. Thank you. And God Bless you.


I am His beloved December 30, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Pain is like a language. It comes in many different sounds, dialects and accents. Once you learn a spoken language fluently, you can understand and communicate with others who speak that same language. It’s the same for those who experience mutual pain. They understand each other.
Love is the only antidote…thank you Craig.


Craig December 30, 2010 at 6:17 pm

There is a change happening. Blinders dropping. For many months now I’ve been seeing deeper into the heart than ever. Before the blogging started. I’m not sure I like this mutually experienced pain so much. :) God Bless you Julie.


Kim December 30, 2010 at 8:51 pm

I think it’s the journey worth taking if at some point you understand your purpose. It sounds like you have found yours. It’s nice connecting with someone who is working from authenticity. I know someone who also suffers in that same way your friend does. It’s a terrible thing.


Craig December 30, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Thank you Kim. I am authentic – I am that. I feel a little like the Tin Man from Oz though. And especially, being a man – this feeling someone else’s pain is – well – different. But it’s love so….

I think I’m going to be saying that a lot now

Thank you much for coming by. God Bless you and yours.


Joyce L Gibson December 30, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Aw Craig, you’ve found it and put it in words so well. True love, Christ’s love flowing through us, is a creative force that finds a way to be expressed. Prayer is love in action, in touch with all heaven has to offer.


Craig December 30, 2010 at 11:58 pm

I wish I could write like you. God Bless.


Renegades December 31, 2010 at 12:40 am

Craig I wanted to stop and thank you for your message to me on Thursday. Your kind words help and I do appreciate them.

This writing of yours touches me for it is so often how I feel. It is the anxiety that I am attacked with.

Your writing also reminds me of the Christian me and makes me think perhaps I should go back and edit a post I made tonight. A post partly in anger where I let a word I am not proud of out in my writing. Expressing my anger. Yet not in a healthy or a very Christian way. In a hurting way. A way where we type and don’t think. Just letting it flow.

As always thank you Craig.


Craig December 31, 2010 at 10:20 am

If you wrote without a filter, and words came from the heart without being checked at the gate by the brain – then you are my sister – and I stand right there with you.

I stand with you anyway because I know how brave you are.

God Bless


Anonymuss December 31, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Thank you for this. Thank you so much for this, Craig. I am reminded of your comment days ago to ‘not waste pain’, but to learn from it. It is that learned-from-pain that enables us to get especially close to some who are hurting. It helps us to more deeply and truly feel where they are and know how to help or listen.


Craig December 31, 2010 at 4:13 pm

A. You are so right. That verse – the one about going through stuff so we can help others going through stuff (yes, I’m a scholar :) – well it’s true in a way. After going through stuff we know about it – but only when the heart is engaged do we actually begin to use what was learned. My heart in recent years (thank you God) has been engaged. God Bless.


Mari January 1, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Beautifully written words that serve as a challenge to me to do the same: to be moved by love to draw near to the hurting AND feel with them AND help. Thank you.


Craig January 1, 2011 at 8:22 pm


Thank you so much for coming by. It really is sad to say I didn’t have this in me until late in my life. Now that it’s hear the drumbeat is loud. I’m grateful for your kind words.


Simon February 1, 2011 at 10:19 am

Until you are born again, you do not know what real love means! But when you become born again, you do not know the height, nor width, nor depth of God’s love. As you live each day, you learn more about God’s love. It knows no limit!!!!!!!


Craig February 1, 2011 at 10:22 am

Amen Simon – and then for some of us it takes time to really get it. I was stubborn. God Bless – and thank you for reading.


Nacole@sixinthesticks September 1, 2011 at 9:00 am

this was beautiful, Craig.

your friend sounds a lot like me. the way you described the anxiety:

“And it twists and turns and tears at the fabric of the thinking until shreds fall to the ground”

all of your words were so good! i hearted all of them!



Craig September 1, 2011 at 2:57 pm

my friend was having anxiety attacks – and they were crippling – just crippling. The good news is that with treatment anxiety attacks which if unchecked could lead to suicide – are really, really, really treatable. We just had to get her through the toughest of times. And she’s on the other side now ツ if you are having things like this uncontrollable panicky breathing, and uncontrolled pacing, or feeling trapped, or finding, or sweaty palms, all of those “panic” symptoms – google it a bit – both my friend, and my brother battled panic attacks and won. I really heart your heart! Take care of your heart Nacole. Take care of you. You are vitally important!!!! God bless you my friend.


Nacole@sixinthesticks September 1, 2011 at 5:39 pm

well…first of all, thanks for your replies. they are very kind. i hate to see you drop out of the wed. post, but you have to do what you have to do. (btw, i had an idea about the post that you and your friend discussed you doing on the forgiveness post…i would call it “Love is fulfilling” or ‘Love does not leave you unsatisfied” )

….i have anxiety attacks, but they arent severe as far as panicky breathing and such…it is equally debilitating, or worse, though i would say, because it happens constantly in my body…any little simple thing triggers it, like writing a post, sending emails or answering emails, not-so-nice-comments from family or friends on facebook or by phone, loud, incessant OR sudden noise (which is not convenient since i have 4 children–makes life and being the mama i want to be difficult), being in public places, etc. when the anxiety and stress begins, the pain begins–in my chest, neck, shoulders, back and head. i rarely get any relief from it. i have a stress disorder–i believe it is fibromyalgia, so the anxiety isnt going to just go away. but i can learn to stay away from situations that cause it. problem is, everyday life causes it. i feel im fighting a losing battle. i so much relate to Ann and the things she writes about–she has really been a lifeline for me.

thanks for the encouragement that i can get over it–i can win. thank you for that. i have a dr’s appt in a week and im hoping this time he can give me something that will work (i also just found out that i have another disease caused by stress–TMJ–so im not in a good frame of mind this week). i dont want to take med, but im at the point i really dont have a choice. and like you said, it can cause suicide, and i have had severe depression since my baby was born, so when you weigh the options…

thanks, Craig and God bless.


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