Sitting With Pain

Here it is Good Friday, in the Christian tradition — a religion that spans about one third of the world’s population. Many have grown up hearing the intense story of Jesus' final day on earth — the cruelty, the agony, the surrender. Regardless of religious background, those of us who have lost loved ones can relate to the hallow ache of death’s silence and the crushing weight of grief experienced. Most of us cannot see any possible resurrection on the horizon at times like these. It’s too hard to fathom what new life might look like when at a point of such profound loss. No, instead, at times of great heartbreak, we sit with the pain and its unknowing of what transformations may lie ahead. 

And so it is with our world right now, for the over 100,000 lives that have been lost to the Covid-19 pandemic (at the time of this writing). Each one a human being with a unique story. 

In the Jewish tradition I admire the practice of sitting shiva with loved ones during times of mourning. While some people seem to avoid the discomfort of looking bereavement in the eye, I have come to identify my closest friends by their ability to meet me in such spaces with sheer vulnerability. To me, this beautiful gift of presence to another’s anguish powerfully says “this life mattered,” and “your suffering matters.” 

Today, as many reverently acknowledge the life of Jesus that was cut way too short and unjustly so, let us also hold in our hearts the many lives worldwide taken abruptly and unfairly over the past four months of the coronavirus outbreak. Let us take a moment to sit with the collective pain of deep loss that is part of the human story and not run from it. Let us send love from our hearts to those in despair, even if it’s only by way of energy in thought or prayer to a stranger we’ll never meet. Let us acknowledge together the gift of life and the difference each one makes. 

May you be inspired!

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