The Pain That Passes Understanding

24 09 2007

Perhaps one the greatest crisis of friendship can be the pain that is ensnared in an emotional breakdown. 

I readily confess that I am the type of person that likes to be liked.  In sort of a George Costanza way (without the un-nuanced neurotica) it bothers me when someone doesn’t want to be on friendly terms with me.  When one truly sets about to do the work of Christ, particularly in the role of pastor, you set yourself squarely in the firing line of countless detractors and agitators.  I have come to grips with the fact that I wear my heart on my sleeve, and that the pain of my people is my pain as well.  Some tell me that makes for a good pastor.  I don’t know about that; it’s just my nature I suppose.  I make this raw confession as a preface to the statements that will follow.

It is hard enough to deal with the pain of turmoil in a friendship, but when that turmoil stems from a mental imbalance it’s even more the difficult to understand.  It’s easier to comprehend that you can’t reason with someone who’s drunk then to understand that you can’t make sense of a mind with a mental imbalance.  There have been several occasions in my ministry where a loyal parishioner and friend has turned against me overnight due to the mysterious swirling and fury of brain chemicals gone wild.  You know that the person who is inebriated will (usually) be sober again and return to a modicum of reason.  With the mental imbalance you look into the glass darkly not knowing what lies ahead in the days or months to come. 

And so today I once again struggle with that pain that passes understanding with much hope and prayer that my beloved friend will soon get the help they need and return to reason.  The thing we too often forget is that pain is actually a good thing.  Without pain we are lepers prone to accidental burnings and mutilations as our body is destroyed.  Without emotional pain we become Mr. Potatoheads sitting on the shelf with plastic smiles and happy derbies.  Pain is a useful barometer in that it leads us to prayer, to introspection, and to action.  Pain proves love.  I can’t help but think that Christ’s greatest pain on the cross was not the nails, but the knowledge that not everyone gets it.  Pain is the price of sacrifice, and it is worth the journey of discovery.

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2 responses

24 09 2007
beverlyshaffer

I agree with what you’ve shared. In this world we will have tribulation…

3 02 2008
Pankaj jha

Freedom is higher value than love…
The soul can grob only in freedom & unconditional love provides freedom…..

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