Today, my wife sent me a text about this season of life. She said, “Well, you and I aren’t in crisis, but it seems like everyone around us is. Eye of the storm or something, huh?”
In reality, not everyone around us is in crisis, but there are a few. For few people, we have been advocates, sometimes walking them through things so dark that nobody ever wants to be there. But someone has to, so we go.
It seems like we become a port of solace in the midst of the storm.
In those times, when someone desperately needs to know that things are going to be okay, and desperately needs an advocate, stepping in always costs me something. After the phone calls, the meetings, and then the texts and emails that follow, I always feel emotionally drained, but it is more than that. It feels like I gave a piece of my soul away through the process. It feels that in order to give them life again, I had to give them a piece of mine.
It reminds me of the story of Jesus, when a woman desperate for healing touched him because maybe, just maybe, she would finally be well. “And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my garments?’” (Mark 10:30)
In that moment, Jesus captures a feeling I have had so many times. After fighting for someone, it feels as though something has gone out from me. It is not just that they are better, but that the process of giving someone life has a cost.
First, I am not trying to compare myself to Jesus. Second, I am not saying this is a bad thing.
The emotional toll it costs to fight for someone you love is immense. But more than that, seeing that person come back to life is one of the greatest pleasures in life. I would do it for everyone if I could.
One question comes to mind “Do I have the life to give?” Because if I have it, I will give it away. That is the only thing I can do when life begins to boil up inside of me. But if I do not have it, I have nothing to give.
Jesus notes that “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37b-38)
Life has come from understanding who I am and the value I have. Life comes from knowing what it is to be loved and what it is to be enough. Life has come from being connected to the God who loves me and who continues to overflow with love for me. Sitting under a fountain of love, in that place, I have life to give away. In that place, when a piece of my soul goes out of me and when it feels like I am giving someone else part of my life, in that place there is more life. In that place, when I experience peace and solace because I am enough and I am loved, in that place I can offer solace to others, because I know that they are enough and are loved as well.
Part of the privilege of the Christian life means sometimes being the eye of the storm.