Friday, September 7, 2007

Waiting for Healing

Last night I got a call from a friend who is in a lot of pain right now. It was late. He called me because he could not sleep. He told me a little about the circumstances. I wished I had had advice or insight to give, but I didn't, so we just did what friends do. We talked. We enjoyed the comfort of friendship. It didn't particularly matter what we talked about, I don't think. Only that we did talk, that for an hour that felt far, far too short, we listened to the sound of each other's voices, we laughed together, we talked about our feelings and frustrations, our goals and our hopes. We talked until he felt enough peace and enough comfort to find rest. I hope he slept well afterward.

This morning in my prayers he was still with me. I felt this kind of nausea, this kind of pain in my gut. Maybe it was worry. I'm not sure what kind of pain is worse. Your own pain, or the pain of someone you love. Because at least with your own pain, you know the measure of it. With someone else's pain, you don't know. And you feel powerless. All you can do is pray. All you can do is hope that somehow your friendship adds balm, that it diminishes the pain. But when you can't make the source of the pain go away, even that feels so horribly inadequate.

And even prayer under those circumstances reminds you of your helplessness in the face of the pain. God may heal, eventually. But in the meantime all you can do is wait.

Dear friend, you know who you are. I am waiting with you.