Everything is contagious.
That statement is a little bit right. And we are wise to guard ourselves with it. Spending too long among destructive attitudes, lousy choices, unhealthiness… If we are not careful, these things can spread to us.
But this awareness runs pretty deep. This awareness runs too deep. We might never have put it into words. We might not have ever admitted to ourselves. But we run with this fear: everything is contagious. We hold on to it with a cowards desperation.
If I am to be brutally honest, I know that there have been down trodden people, hurting people, suffering people at the far end of some great tragedy. It is hard to want to be with them. For me, when bad things for others loom on the horizons, when bad things threaten, it’s not so bad. I am inspired to stand by people, offer what support I can.
But once it all goes down? This should be the time I am most there for others. And yet, it is when I find the most reason not to be.
Hurting people sometimes make it easy to neglect them. When we are in our darkest places, we don’t often do a good job of reaching out and telling people what we need.
And I think I– we– don’t like our powerlessness exposed. When people are headed toward disaster we can help them be proactive, find ways to limit the damage that will be done. But once the disaster has happened? We can not change peoples circumstances. We can’t make their pain go away. In fact, When people are deeply hurting, it can be scary because there are lots of bad things we can say to make the situations seem a little worse.
But I am seeing right now that giving into this fear is an act of cowardice.
There are lots of people I should have been with after the … fit hit the shan. I could not have done anything for them, really. But I should have been there. Too walk beside them through pain and grief and shame and mourning. To sit in the ashes with them, wordlessly.
I am sorry if you are one of the people who has been let down by me in this way.
One of the things I see is that Jesus is there, in that suffering. And sometimes he is magnified and glorified when he gets to work through others that are around in the midst of tragedy. Not in miracles, usually. (Thogh those do happen) but rather in the day to day presence, in the simple being there.