Wednesday, October 3, 2007

about being present in it

so, i mentioned that it hit me - powerfully - last week that the calling that god has given to journey ifc is something to do with Pain.

i've been thinking and praying.

i don't think our calling is to fix anything. put emotional/spiritual bandaids on. give easy answers. i don't even think our job is to try to make people's pain go away. pain is a great teacher. it's at the heart of the human experience. (i hate to say that because people have said things like that as cop-outs or easy answers. no. that's NOT what i'm saying.) it's not about fixing it ... it's about being present in it.

i think our calling has to do with
  • being with people in their pain and joy, with no agenda, no planned outcome.
  • if they want tools to better understand their pain - and understand themselves - humbly provide those tools
  • don't try to make pain go away; know that the pain is transformed when we let god in
  • stand up as a community against systems that enslave and dehumanize people
  • learn from the people we are trying to love and be with
  • remember that god is mysterious and we only see one part of the picture
  • fight like hell for what is about love

9 comments:

Wandering servant said...

you know.. I know this GREAT shrink....

revrin rick said...

WE WILL NEED ALL OF THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bob carlton said...

when i read this (http://alternative.victas.uca.org.au/index.php/2007/10/02/unfinished/)

i thought of where that calling might take journey

confession

we are broken people.

we make lists
- written in fine script on parchment
or scrawled onto cardboard -
of explanations

stories and excuses
we use to paper over the fragility of our lives

and there is no courage
yet
to strip away the layers
we know hold us together

to shatter takes faith we do not yet have…

revrin rick said...

Yes yes YES ...


yes.

Anonymous said...

In my experience, a most important function of pain is to be a signal.
So, a most important response to pain in myself and pain in others is to pay attention...

revrin rick said...

right on, right on anonymous.

it's all about paying attention.

maybe the very, very, very best thing we can do for each other is just sit, and listen, and pay attention, and walk with each other into our pain and fear - and just let it talk to us.

revrin rick said...

right on, right on anonymous.

it's all about paying attention.

maybe the very, very, very best thing we can do for each other is just sit, and listen, and pay attention, and walk with each other into our pain and fear - and just let it talk to us.

Journeyer too said...

I agree with you that just being present with someone in pain is a good first move.

But when do we step and advise, reflect, share our pain, guide, or more.

Pain is a signal, many times it is a signal to take action. Fix a broken leg, intervention with an addict, prevent suicide, reach out to support others (e.g. Katrina victims), etc.

So when do we gain sufficient wisdom to know when to simply be present or to take action. Most likely it is comes from the school of hard knocks. But if the choice (including no action) comes from love is that the place to start. But it can be all to easy to choose from fear to do nothing or take an action.

revrin rick said...

jtoo - that is absolutely where i am in terms of discernment, thinking, praying, listening. wondering. wanting more info.
i guess part of what i'm hearing is that
FIRST, we're to listen, be present. not try to fix it - just be.
SECOND, listen beyond - what is the pain signaling? how can i respond to what that signal is telling me?
THIRD, what clarity can i find about how to respond to that signal? what wisdom can i call on? this is the classic "know when to refer" guideline.
journey's strength team is great - there are needs that will be brought to them; they pray, research, talk, and then decide: is this something we're being called to do? and how do we do it?

jtoo - you're right. not to do, respond, love is way too easy; to be present, is not the same thing as being passive ... and when it's time to act, and move, and step in - i want each of us/all of us to do that.