I couldn’t think of a title of this entry. Suffering is in the forefront of my thoughts this morning. Suffering in the lives of the students I work with. Kids really…all of them just kids who pretend to be in complete control of their lives. Then they step into my office; many of them wearing their tough exterior of armor in hopes that they can fight the battle against me. Fight me off so they could continue as they were. Why was I thinking of suffering this morning?? It’s been an unusual this morning in that I’ve had two extremes step into my office and in each case I felt the two extremes of empathy to frustration. I had to refocus so I read a portion of a book and it talked about suffering which forced me to think a little bit more.
“You can’t teach about suffering from a textbook. You can place yourself in front of a class, lecture, and even do a snappy PowerPoint, but how do you communicate truth so that words become a branding iron on a heart of soft wax? How else do you treat the subject of suffering? …How can you learn about suffering except by feeling the pain yourself? ” -Eareckson Tada
First, I saw this suffering in eyes of a young girl who wore her sufferings on her sleeves. I didn’t have to push at or need to work hard at striking the nerve. It (sadness) was found in the first glance. She sat there sullen and without emotion until I asked that question, “How are you?”. It was almost too overwhelming for her to think about her sadness. Her eyes immediately welled up and and she shook her head. She has had a major loss in her life that she could not bring herself to talk about. I empathized. I know what it feels like to lose someone of great importance to you. I know what it feel like to miss that person that grief can surround and take hostage. I saw it…I could feel it. So she cried. The flow of her grief coming down her face as he breathed in her suffering.
Next, the frustrating part of the job. A drug addict who comes face to me and swears that he isn’t using. When I can see the bloodshot eyes and hear the slurring of the speech.
What it boils down to is…how willing? How willing is the person to bring down those walls or take off that tough exterior (armor). That is the hard part…for me to be patient. Sometimes my patience runs out and I just have to accept that some cannot be helped at this moment. It sure has been a trying day for me. I say I don’t get emotionally involved but if I am real honest, I do. I care for the kids I work with and there are times I wish I could be that parent who will either console them or chastise them. Many of them are suffering with various things that either break them or make them hard.