I was sitting with a friend of mine on a park bench in Piedmont Park in Atlanta. She was telling me about a devastating experience that she had as a child. She was abused and tortured by family members until she finally escaped her home at 15 years old. The pain of her experience was palpable. My heart broke for her, even as I marveled at the extraordinary woman that she had become.
In response, I did what seemed natural. Feeling righteous indignation for her suffering, I started trying to fix it. I said, "Were they persecuted? Can we do that now? There have to be consequences!" I began spinning with idea after idea trying to make her pain not so bad, the injustice not so great.
Kindly, she reached over and took my hand. She said, "Cameron, your kindness means the world to me. I don't need you to fix me. I need you to hear me. I just need to be seen."
I think about that moment a great deal in these broken, painful days. We do have much we need to fix. But we also have many among us who simply need to be seen. We are doubled over with grief. We are buried by demands of work, family, and homeschooling. We are unemployed and terrified of losing everything. We are isolated and alone.
Being seen and heard in the midst of our pain is deeply healing. Listening creates relationship. Everyone has a story and wants to share their story in order to be connected. That connection creates the healing we all so desperately need.
Cameron Trimble, UCC Pastor