Every Sunday, I stand before my altar and look up at my Jesus and reaffirm my promise to Him that I will live my Sunday as a day of special thanksgiving and rest. It doesn’t always work to plan, given that I am a workaholic and life does happen. Recently, I learned that even on a Sunday, God could still call me to go out into a vineyard of need. It taught me that each day given to us is His gift to us to live it as He has willed.
Today, intent on that same rest and thanksgiving, I instead sensed a heaviness in my spirit. I could tell straight off, it was not mine, though. I felt it was someone suffering from workplace discrimination, with loss of hope in a long journey of suffering.
Or perhaps I was picking up on someone’s feeling of anguish that even if people cared, no one could really help.
Last night, I had seen these words,
Whatever you do won’t be enough, I heard their voices say.
~ Barack Obama, A Promised Land
Two tiny words that shone out their light, then receded into their stillness.
And so I did. I traced back this heaviness I was sensing, going backwards along its path of hidden tears, till I reached the eyes from which flowed this quiet pain. Is it hers, I wondered. I don’t know her. What if I’m rebuffed? What if her pain pushes me away? Because I could sense something very big and very deep behind this person’s statements of hurt.
Try anyway, gentle yet firm, the words came back.
So, timidly and hesitantly I typed out the words I might want to hear from someone. Neither the words to feed the anger, nor to minimize the suffering, nor even to shame the person for crying out for help by saying, I suffered more, why can’t you bear even this? I tried my best to acknowledge the loneliness of her suffering, the isolation of it, the shame of being the only one. But I could feel the sparseness of my words, puny against this towering pain.
Then, I told her I was going to ask God for a miracle for her. That her sowing of tears would someday reap the joy of rejoicing.
The very minute I laid those words, as mundane and as small as the simple sparrow, by this unknown person’s heart, I felt the weight lift from mine. From a distance came the call of a lone eagle circling the whitened~blue skies as if he too had met this weight coming off from me.
And with that I just knew that on this Sunday, those words of hope was all my Jesus had asked of me for a stranger’s pain.