There are weeks that never seem to end, that make it glaringly evident that we live in a broken world.
As you may have guessed, I am currently in one of those weeks.
Today I sat across from a woman who had her son taken away from her just two days ago. She couldn’t stop crying long enough to get out even one complete sentence.
Hours earlier, I had floundered in my attempts to comfort a woman fleeing an intense domestic violence situation. Her young son sat in their car, not fully understanding what was happening and too afraid to come into my office.
Yesterday, a woman with a serious mental illness called over and over, just wanting to be listened to and understood.
Last night, a college student showed up around 11. Last month her 5-month-old daughter went to be with Jesus, and her husband decided he couldn’t stand to be around her anymore because it reminded him too much of what they had lost.
And in the midst of all of this, agencies from around town kept calling to ask if we had any room for the women in their offices who were stranded, desperate, and without hope.
I had no idea what to do in any of these situations.
They were, for the most part, all scenarios that I’ve seen before and so one would think that it would have been at least a little bit easier this time. Like, maybe this time I would have words to say to alleviate some of the anguish they were feeling.
But no. I fumbled around awkwardly, trying to think of something to say, coming up only with silence and the idea to hand over a box of Kleenex.
There is no hidden message here, just the reminder for myself that there are times in life where it seems as though there is no limit to the heartache that people can feel. And in those times it feels like all I can do is trust that things will get better for them, somehow. If I internalize all of this pain, I will be unable to help anyone. Just as these women need to give their hurt and feelings of betrayal over to the Lord, I too need to surrender these feelings of inadequacy and helplessness.