Last night, as I prayed over the needs of people in my community, my heart broke. Or maybe it melted, a puddle of humility and tears. But I sat around a table with other believers whose hearts were also break-melting. And we poured out our puddle-hearts to our God.
Some people – most people – are fighting harder battles, facing greater struggles than we can ever know just by looking at them.
A son has been arrested. A mother is dying of cancer. Financial problems persist. A father has sunk into depression. A child is suicidal. The doctor calls with scary news. Memories of abuse haunt. A marriage is hanging together by a thread. The school principal calls with a bad report. A court date looms. A brother is homeless, destitute, mentally ill. A sister is angry, estranged, unforgiving. A nephew’s body and mind waste away from drug abuse. A much-wanted, long-awaited unborn baby dies in the womb. A job is lost. A grandmother’s memories gradually fade away.
Life is hard. Bad things happen. Really bad things happen.
I think of a school principal who once told me he asked God to help him see his students as God sees them. He was surprised – shocked! – that when students walked into his office, he saw children with holes poked through their souls. When he pleaded with God to give him His eyes, he saw brokenness.
I think of Jesus walking through the city and stopping to notice and love and heal the wounded, broken people that the pious-holy Pharisees breezed past every day, never once seeing them and their hole-y souls.
I want to be brave. I want to ask God to help me see people as He sees them. But I am afraid. I know I cannot bear it – walking around all day seeing the holes in people’s souls. Seeing the emptiness. Seeing the broken, puddle-hearts of the other mothers in carpool line or the empty, neglected places in the souls of the children climbing on the monkey bars. It is too much. If praying for only a small part of these needs for twenty minutes shatters my heart and causes my soul to lie flat, face-down begging for God’s mercy, pleading for His redemption of all the sadness and evil — how then can I walk through Target with His eyes? How could my feet continuing standing under a heart that heavy?
So I ask for glimpses. Reminders to keep my heart soft. Tiny peeks into the battles of others so that I can remember to show grace.
As I bow and pray, I ask God to daily remind me that life is hard and some people are doing the very best they can. I ask Him to whisper to my heart at just the right time that the difficult person casting a shadow over my day has a story I don’t know. And I ask Him to help me be kind.
We are all broken. We all have holes in our souls that need God’s mending. We are all fighting battles we don’t advertise or broadcast. Let’s show grace to each other. Let’s be kind.