I have a sensitive child. One who’s emotions are so near the surface they can be accessed by the merest brush of human contact. I used to think it was a weakness or a flaw. Something that needed to be healed, cured or changed. Because I saw the pain and hardship it caused my wee one, I wanted it be be gone, so life would be easier. On him. On me.
Every where we went it was like he absorbed the negative emotions around him. He was a magnet for others ill feelings. I watched as he would hunch his little shoulders up and walk with dejected head bowed down when rebuffed. I saw the tears burst up out of his heart and out through his eyes when he was overwhelmed with frustration, or pain, or anger. I ached with the pain written across his face when he was left out, again. I seethed with anger when he was taken advantage of. But mostly, I felt resentment. Not resented towards HIM, but resentment that life was harder on him than on other kids.
Often I brought my “Why” list to God. The list was long. The list was whiney. The list of helpful suggestions to God about the situation was equally long and whiney. "Let him grow out of it, let him learn to cope, take it away". You know, those "Do it my way Lord" prayers. Followed by, "Your will be done", just KNOWING that my will was His will.
And low and behold, if even through my whiney prayers , God didn’t answer the cry of my heart. Not in changing my son or his experiences. But in opening my eyes to see what was hidden to me before. Shocker of all shockers, if His will wan't being done all along.
The story came from a teacher who stopped my husband in the hall one day. My son was in the 3rd grade and had visited a nursing home on a school field trip. They had visited several rooms, to sing for the old folks and to bring some cheer to their day. Most of the children had hung back, nervous and ill at ease with the old folks in their shrunken, feeble conditions, but my son seemed at ease. In one room a lady lay unresponsive, and a nurse told them she was having surgery the following morning. My son asked if he could pray for her. He approached the bed, took her hand and prayed for her, he asked for blessings on the surgeon and nurses who would be attending her and asked for angels to be in the operating room. The teacher said the lady in the bed and the attending nurse both had tears in their eyes. In the last room they visited a little old fellow was sitting in a wheel chair. James knelt beside him and told him “ Sir, did you know you are very important? God loves you and has plans for your life. You still have work to do.” Again, the fellow and his nurse were moved by the sensitivity of an 8 year old boy’s heart. God was able to speak, through his voice and touch through his hands.
And so began the journey of watching this sensitive child grow. He still feels easily, and deeply. It is still painful. He is not popular. He is not easily accepted into a group. It still hurts. But the very sensitivity that feels so deeply rejection and pain also feels the pain in others… and is acted upon in loving and gentle ways.
I am overwhelemed with gratitude when I see him gently speak healing words to other children, when I am myself comforted by his words, or touch. I realize that the very things that hurt us, can bless us. I realize that we should let no pain be wasted. The very things that cause us pain, may be a tool we use to help relieve pain in others one day.
What pain do you have? Suffered loss? Use your experience to help mend another’s wound. Been betrayed? Use your experience to shore up your loyalty to others. Been the betrayer? Use the experience to extend mercy to others who need it. Gone through the dark valley of death? Use your experience to shine a light of hope to someone else. In the sensitivity of our wounds, let healing be shared. Let’s let no pain be wasted.