It was pouring outside and the temperature was dropping so I knew I needed to get on the road soon, but my roommate and I couldn’t seem to stop chatting. I blew off my dad when he called and told me the weather forecast and that if I was going to make the trip to Ohio I better go now.
An hour later I finally made my way to my car to begin my two-and-a-half hour trip to see Brandon. Long-distance dating was the worst.
I drove on that same highway like I had driven a million times before, but this time was different.
I guess the temperature finally hit freezing as I was passing that semi. My car suddenly spun out of control and I saw myself heading sideways into an 18-wheeler at 70 mph.
By some miracle I was ok, but something changed that day.
All of the sudden, I became aware of the
reality of car wrecks.
Sure, I knew car wrecks existed. We hear about them all of the time. But it never had anything to do with me until I was in one.
Now when I pass a car wreck or hear of someone that was in one, it catches my attention. Sympathy is there that wasn’t before.
Isn’t it sad that many times we have to learn the realities of pain personally before we can truly understand someone else’s?
I think car wrecks are similar to cancer in that way.
Cancer is a peculiar thing. Like car wrecks, we all know it’s happening – affecting many people around us in various ways, but until it directly affects us, it doesn’t do much to our heart.
Or at least I’m sad to say, it didn’t for mine.
Then my grandmother got cancer three years ago. And I lost the most wonderful friend.
And now, my heart breaks all of the time.
I’m ashamed to say many times I try to turn off the noise – to not hear the stories of cancer and battles and deaths.
But sometimes I just can’t. Even during times that are supposed to be happy- like the holidays.
Don’t get me wrong- this holiday season has been very happy. But the older I get, the sadder these happy times get as well.
Maybe you know what I’m talking about.
While I am becoming more thankful for family with each passing year, I’m becoming more saddened by the loved ones that aren’t here anymore or the friends that struggling to get by.
And I even feel sorrow for the losses and battles strangers are experiencing, even though we’ve never met.
Like Julia, a 22 year-old who found out she had leukemia only weeks after her wedding.
Julia’s story is similar to so many others.
But this time, I hear her story. And I find myself heartbroken for her daily, pleading God for her healing.
I used to hear stories of my Great-Great Grandmother and Great Grandmother praying for hours a day. They would get down on their knees next to their bed and pray for every person they knew and many people they didn’t. They both did this until they died – needing help for their frail bodies to even get to their knees and back up again in their last years.
I never used to understand how they could pray for so long, but it’s finally starting to make sense.
Maybe that is how it is when you get older. You experience sadness more so you begin to feel it more for other people. Sometimes even strangers.
And it hurts.
But it means you begin praying for someone else a lot more than yourself.
Then you remember that God asks you to plead on behalf of others. And He hears those prayers. And that your hope is not in this fragile life. It’s in the one to come.
And that means it’s worth the pain.
Because although my prayer feels small, it isn’t to my God. He hears my prayers. He hears your prayers.
When I’m old and my body is frail, I hope that I’m down on my knees praying for everyone I know, and many I don’t. That every moment of pain I experience in life, most moments still to come at this point, are turned into a deeper trust of the Lord.
I hope I feel the pain, so I can pray.
It’s okay to feel the pain, friend.
Even during the holidays.
Question: Have you ever experienced pain in life that has grown your sympathy for others or made your faith deeper? I’d love to hear your story below.
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