A number of people I love are in pain--emotional, physical, psychological, spiritual. I hate it!!  I want to fix it. It seems to be a natural impulse for me to want to do something--anything--to reduce pain of those I love.

But that can be a problem. Most of the time I can't fix it!! Pain seems to be uniquely individual. Each of us experience it in our own way. The only way we can get beyond it is to go through it. We can try to avoid it, but mostly it comes back, sooner or later and has to be dealt with.

Now one of the problems with my wanting to fix the situation that creates pain for others is that, since I mostly can do nothing to fix it, I am tempted to avoid people in pain.  It is frustrating to feel like I should fix the problem and not have the ability to actually do that.  I feel helpless. In order to avoid frustration, I may be tempted at times to just crawl into the safety of my own world and not show up in the lives of those who hurt.

But, I know from my own experience of pain that having people accompany me in my pain can be helpful. The presence of people who know me and who care for me is really important.  It is important when they come along side of me and walk with me in that pain.  I know that others can't fix the problem and move life back before the painful experience occurred, but it helps me carry my pain when others hold it with me.

And the presence that is most helpful is that which comes gently into my space. Those who try to insist that they have to be with me may be helpful at times, but the most helpful people are those who are near by, waiting and ready when I feel the need to reach out.  It is those who remind me from time to time that they are available. It is those who email, who send a card, who phone.  Just a reminder of their potential presence.

So, if you know someone who is hurting--don't avoid them just because you feel helpless to fix their problem. Respect them enough to allow them to have their own pain, but love them enough to be willing to share time with them when they desire it.