Burning Houses

“Who can save a child from a burning house without taking the risk of being hurt by the flames? … Who can take away suffering without entering it?” (Henri Nouwen, Wounded Healer)

If you are called to care for others, you will witness struggle and pain. Therefore, you must learn to care for yourself so you can stay healthy and serve well.  That requires finding ways to name and work with your pain.  

Sometimes your greatest gift to another is that you have experienced similar pain, have honored what that has set off, and can use that awareness to relate to their experience.  That does not mean you can fully understand their unique struggle or change what they are going through.  But it does mean you can bear witness in special ways.  

If you have entered your own pain, you may find yourself empowered to enter the suffering of others in deeper ways.  Perhaps that does take away some suffering.         

Have you played a special role in holding another’s pain because of your own experience? What was that like?  Is it relevant for your calling?