Many of you have sent kind notes and prayers about my blog post last week on PAIN. I’d shared that I intermittently have severe joint pain and had a flare-up while on vacation.
“But, I had no idea! You never complain about pain. You are always so cheerful!”
There’s a fine line between being transparent and open, letting people close to you know everything that you are thinking and feeling, and complaining all the time about the negative aspects of our lives. I rarely mention my intermittent joint pain except for an occasional request for healing prayer at my church. It isn’t that I am trying to hide anything, but there isn’t much my friends can do for me, except pray. Usually it gets better after a few weeks of rest. I’ve learned to live with it and I’m hopeful that it will stop completely when I discontinue taking a medication in September.
When I was in New York last week visiting a Trappist Monastery, Fr. Jerome was asked, “How come Mother Teresa never complained about her spiritual dryness? She felt God was distant for almost 50 years of her life and she was distressed, describing it in confidential letters as a “dryness”, “loneliness” “darkness” and “torture”. She even wrote that she should be accused of being a “hypocrite” because the public “mask” she wore was very different from her personal feelings. It wasn’t until after her death that her pain was revealed. How come she never complained?”
Fr. Jerome’s response: “Mother Teresa knew that God had called her to reveal His love by caring for the poorest of the poor in Calcutta. If she had constantly complained about not hearing God’s voice it would have detracted from the message that God wanted to communicate through her. It was more important to her to be a vehicle for God to use as an example of His love then for her to get sympathy from others. Mother Teresa had it right: our actions should center around what God has asked us to do for others, not on the negative aspects of our lives.”
I thought about Fr. Jerome’s comments before I wrote my post on PAIN. Should I have suffered in silence like Mother Teresa? I hope my writing wasn’t seen as complaining, but instead as recognition that as humans we all have PAIN, and my answer is to run to God. And, I’m no longer reluctant to reach out to close friends and ask for their prayers when I hurt.
Is there a pain in your life that you need to share with others, not to complain but to reach out for prayer? That pain may be driving you to another way to serve God.
Blessings, my friend,