The Fellowship Of The Broken

When people near me are suffering, I often wonder what I should do. I think, "I'm not doing enough! What do they need? What do I do to help ease their suffering? I don't know how to help them!" But this quote reminds me that sometimes just sitting silently, touching a hand, and being a neutral witness of someone's pain is the kindest and most authentic way to cradle those in need.

"Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to the place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it. As busy, active, relevant ministers, we want to earn our bread by making a real contribution. This means first and foremost doing something to show that our presence makes a difference. And so we ignore our greatest gift, which is our ability to enter into solidarity with those who suffer. Those who can sit in silence with their fellowman, not knowing what to say but knowing that they should be there, can bring new life to a dying heart. Those who are not afraid to hold a hand in gratitude, to shed tears in grief and to let a sigh of distress arise straight from the heart can break through paralyzing boundaries and witness the birth of a new fellowship, the fellowship of the broken."

--Henri Nouwen

*Thank you for this, Jon