The other day I had a procedure done to remove the fluid that had built up around my lungs. The doctor asked me, after reviewing my chart, that after all the things I had been through what was the hardest thing I had ever done. It got me thinking about my journey with pain. I could have replied with my visits to the ICU with chest tubes and central lines all around me, the moment when my body was so inflamed by an experimental drug that I moved my leg the wrong way and started screaming in agony while the nurses ran to get the drug that knocked me out, or simply the fact that I have to walk on a collapsed hip everyday. That I can’t bend down or sit on the ground. That everything I do is painful.
Pain is uncomfortable and unwelcome. Even though it should be expected in this lifetime we often complain every time we meet it. If you think about it the very act of bringing life into the world is painful. But it is also beautiful. It breaks you open to reveal an authenticity to others that also breaks them open to reveal their truth. When you experience pain with someone else you develop a bond that deepens with every story told. Having the presence of a tried and true companion is soothing to the soul. Before you know it you are sitting before each other with bleeding hearts singing to each other the truth of your pain. It weaves stories together with golden thread.
My hope for you is that you have found your table. The one with your placemat and name card. The one that is extended to make room for your story. The power of a dinner table is one that is unconditional. Come with your pain, with your journey, to weave your voice into the everlasting blanket. Community is a heart cry heard by everyone. A divine theology. Feast on the fruit of your brothers and sisters.
Let your love be known.