“Each of us is made for community; isolation and loneliness are among the most painful of human experiences.” — Bill Crowder
What do babies expect when they cry? They expect their needs to be met, and so they are programmed to cry desperately louder and louder until they get a response. They are inconsolable until their needs are met.
How sad and tragic to think about innocent babies whose needs are not met due to negligent or abusive responses to their needs. Many babies are actually physically abused because they’re crying. The confusion in their little infant minds occurs when the way they are wired to let a need be known isn’t working. Tragically, they suffer from failure to thrive, inability to develop normally, or worse.
It can be much the same for one who suffers with mental and emotional anguish. It is all they can do to bring themselves to cry out in desperation for their needs to be known and for it to matter to someone, only to be ignored. Like a dependent little baby, the cry is for consistent, tender, nurturing, love and care. Too often though, there is little or no response to their cry for someone to actually care enough to step into the fray with them, stand in the gap for them or to be available to help alleviate the pain that racks their minds.
As with infants whose cries go unmet, the ones in pain often learn that the more they unveil their hurt, needs and desperation not to be alone in their struggle, the less response they get to their cries. It makes it even harder when they know that they have been heard, but others have chosen not to respond. How excruciating it becomes to try and squelch the cry and hide the pain, because of ambivalence and being ignored. This form of rejection, similar to the neglect of an infant, has serious consequences. The one in pain ceases to cry out, and withdraws into his pain. For many, the pain is more than they can bear.
Are you listening and really hearing? If so, are you one who responds to the cries or the one who then ignores them?
“Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat – refreshing!” ~ Psalm 25:13 (MSG)
Reflections on NEED FOR NURTURE
In our world today, we avoid the idea of suffering. We do whatever we can to avoid it. We change the channel when a TV program shows us starving children. But what about those who cannot “change the channel” of their lives? We don’t like to admit that we are selfish and self-centered but we are. We seek easy relationships…those that are light-hearted and fun…those that make us feel happy and are full of fun activities…that help us escape from the trials of everyday life. We forget that there are those who cannot escape the reality of their situation, whether financial, emotional, or physical.
There are choices we can all choose to make that can help us bear trials but, for those in continual physical or emotional pain, the dark cloud of their pain is like a menacing thunderstorm just waiting to pour down misery. Even when they are not in the middle of a down-pour, they know it is coming, and it is constantly threatening to overtake them. Sometimes they just need someone else who is willing to get wet in the middle of the next downpour. They need someone who will hold the umbrella with one hand and hold them up with the other hand…someone who recognizes that the storms come every single day and that the storms are not something they chose; the storms have been given to them and the “sale is final.” There is a huge “NO RETURNS” sign…and they didn’t even go shopping! It was somehow a gift from the hands of a loving God. An unexpected, and dare we say it…unwanted gift, that cannot be given back. They stand there, looking at this package of pain and misery, wondering why They were chosen for this gift? Wondering if God really meant for Them to have it?! Wondering what to do with it? It’s so extremely heavy, they can barely hold onto it at all and once they realize what’s in it, they drop it like a hot potato and try to walk away from it, but it has legs, and it follows them wherever they go! They try to run from it but once the package has been opened, it’s like they are running in slow motion and each leg feels like it weighs 100 pounds more than it did before. What can they do? How can they act? They never asked for this gift…never even dreamed it could exist. And now there is no escaping it and they desperately look around for someone who will at least help them carry the weight of it for it has shackled itself to them in chains that can never be broken.
When just one or two people come alongside, it is amazing how much lighter the burden becomes. Just one person can make the burden bearable, even though it is still excruciatingly painful to walk through each day with this burden. When there is daily assistance, that small break from the burden can make them feel like they WILL make it through life with this everlasting burden.
Will we be sensitive enough to notice the burdens and help carry them on a regular basis? Will we be the friends who stand in the gap for them?
“And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12
Prayer for the Hurting Person:
Please help these hurting souls You love to be comforted by Your word when they feel all alone. Please bring them friends for the journey. Bring them people to hear their hearts and be sensitive to their hurts, even when they struggle with expressing what they feel. Walk with them and carry them when they can’t go on.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Prayer for the Helper:
Help me to realize that, but for your mercy, I could be the one who is crying, feeling deserted and unable to function. Give me a servant’s heart that is sensitive to Your Holy Spirit’s leading. Help me to respond immediately when You convict me of actions You want me to take. May I trust You enough to surrender the time that You are calling me to invest in the lives of others.Help me listen to others with my heart.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.