Have you ever been through those times when it felt like you are walking on thin ice and the things above you could crash down at any moment and everything underneath is so completely uncertain? I have been there – well to be honest, I am standing right in the middle of there right now. Sometimes I feel as though one wrong step and we will find out exactly what the uncertainty holds. Oh and you know that feeling when you wake up after something bad has happened and you almost feel like you have a hangover and maybe the events of the previous day were all a bad dream – an alcohol induced bad dream that would never happen in reality? Then you wake up and realize that horrible nightmare really is your reality and somehow you have to wade into the darkness, find your heart, and try to reassemble the pieces. If you combine those two feelings you will know a little about what I am trying to make sense out of.

Many people ask why bad things happen to good people; well I never really understood why bad things have to happen at all. I know in my head that ultimately we live in a broken world where sin runs rampant and life sucks sometimes, but my heart still asks why. Why do you have to explain to children why their mom and dad can’t be married anymore? What do you say to family and friends that have just found out a loved one has cancer? How do you explain people leaving or car accidents where people are killed? Murder. Molestation. Abuse of any kind – how do you make sense of these things?

And please don’t give me the Sunday school answer right now – that makes me so angry. Affirm truth – this sucks, it’s not fair, I don’t know what to say, I don’t really understand what you are going through, but God does, He loves you, He is sovereign, and day by day, hour by hour, minute by grueling minute, it will get better. You will be able to breathe again. Your heart that you’re not sure exists in its entirety anymore will start beating again. And one day you will smile again. Until that happens, though, just be willing to wade into that darkness with them – just be there – to hold them, cry with them, let them push you away, but don’t stay away forever.

If you have ever been through anything that makes you feel what I have described, then you can empathize. You do understand. Remember that when you begin to say something unkind, when you choose not to show love to the world around you, or when you all too hastily judge a person or his/her actions. You never know what people are going through. There is so much evil in this world, it doesn’t need your bad attitude too. You can choose what you put out into your world. You can choose to be kind, to love, to spread peace. And all of you cynical people, stop rolling your eyes and wander over to a mirror. These are all actions you can choose to do even if you aren’t FEELING particularly kind or loving. Believe me, this is something I deal with on a daily basis. I can turn sarcasm into personal insults that sear and scar down to the bone, and I have to choose to be quiet and be kind.

I am so tired of hate and hurt and pain and abuse – it breaks my heart. It doesn’t matter that these things aren’t always directed at me because I have been there. I don’t know how to stop empathizing with people to the point that their pain doesn’t become my own.  For some unknown, unGodly reason we feel as through we can criticize that which we don't understand, and we forget that words hurt. I wish people would stop and put themselves in others' shoes and see how that feels.  Everything looks different from your own perspective.

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