There is much suffering in the world – very much. Material suffering is suffering from hunger, suffering from homelessness, from all kinds of disease; but I still think that the greatest suffering is being lonely, feeling unloved, just having no one. I have come more and more to realize that being unwanted is the worst disease that any human being can ever experience.
In these times of development, the whole world runs and is hurried. But there are some who fall down on the way and have no strength to go ahead. These are the ones we must care about. Let us be very sincere in our dealings with each other and have courage to accept each other as we are. Do not be surprised at or become preoccupied with each other’s failure; rather see and find the good in each other, for each one of us is created in the image of God.
So often times we think that we have to go to a foreign country – or even down to the inner cities (places where physical suffering is more obvious)- – – in order to really make a difference. It’s simply not true. Perhaps it seems easier to know what to do – they’re hungry so we feed them. They need clothes? Let me check my closet. But those that suffer in silence – feeling unloved and lonely- that is a ministry just begging for us to be involved in and it can be done ANYWHERE.
Momma Gigi and I took a lunch break today and decided to grab a salad at the Texas Roadhouse. There was a gentleman – perhaps in his 40’s – sitting at a table by himself. There were two menus and the waiter asked if there was someone else joining him? “No. It’s just me. It’s always just me.”
He sat there by himself – fingers tapping the table. He sipped his water and sat in silence. He wasn’t playing with a cell phone, texting, or even looking at the TV. He just seemed to be sitting there – alone.
NOW – most of you might think that what we did is absolutely ridiculous or embarrassing even. But Momma Gigi and I both couldn’t help but feel the nudging from something Greater – so we asked the gentleman if we could join him. Surprised to say the least – he laughed and said “really?”
Steve is from Lexington. He’s never been married and has no children. He works for an insurance company. Every day he eats lunch by himself. He’s a big fan of UK basketball and has always wanted to see a game – but feels weird going by himself. He’s a polite man, very quiet. It felt like you could look right through him. We had an awkward start but ended in a beautiful lunch together. He told me he hasn’t had lunch with someone in months. He thanked us for the conversation and went on his way.
How many times have you seen people going to the movies by themselves? Going out to eat by themselves? Or they’re sick and never had anyone visit them? When we were at the hospital with the babies – we had more visitors than we could count on two hands. But the room right next to us – it looked to be a single mom and her child. No one came to see her. No one came and relieved her.
God has challenged me this week to look for those that suffer in the silence that is all around them. To be His face not just to the Haitian people – but to those that walk past me every single day – and I just never noticed…..
There is suffering out there on all levels and in every neighborhood.
Just a matter of whether our hearts are open to seeing it…..and whether we choose to do anything about it.
Categories: Personal Stories