Monday, February 04, 2008
hold my hand
This is taken from someone's blog. The words touched me very deeply...
"Care as the basis and precondition of all cure...
In a community like ours, we have put all the emphasis on cure. We want to be professionals: heal the sick, help the poor, teach the ignorant, and organise the scattered. But the temptation is that we use our expertise to keep a safe distance from that which really matters and forget that, in the long run, cure without care is more harmful than helpful.
What does it mean to care? Real care is not ambiguous. Real care excludes indifference and is the opposite of apathy. The word care finds its roots in the Gothic Kara, which means lament. The basic meaning of care is "to grieve, to experience sorrow, to cry out with.
...We tend to look at caring as an attitude of the strong toward the weak, of the powerful toward the powerless, of the have's toward the have-not's. And, in fact, we feel quite uncomfortable with an invitation to enter into someone's pain before doing something about it.
Still, when we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not-knowing, not-curing, not-healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is the friend who cares.
You might remember moments in which you were called to be with a friend who had lost a wife or husband, child or parent. What can we say, do, or propose at such a moment? There is a strong inclination to say: "Don't cry; the one you loved is in the hands of God." "Don't be sad because there are so many good things left worth living for." But are we ready to really experience our powerlessness in the face of death and say: "I do not understand. I do not know what to do, but I am here with you." Are we willing to not run away from the pain, to not get busy when there is nothing to do, and instead stand in the face of death together with those who grieve?
The friend who cares makes it clear that whatever happens in the external world, being present to each other is what really matters. In fact, it matters more than pain, illness, or even death. It is remarkable how much consolation and hope we can receive from authors who, while offering no answers to life's questions, have the courage to articulate the situation of their lives in all honesty and directness....Their courage to enter so deeply into human suffering and to become present to their own pain gave them the power to speak healing words.
Therefore, to care means first of all to be present to each other. From experience, you know that those who care for you become present to you. When they listen, they listen to you. When they speak, you know they speak to you. And when they ask questions, you know it is for your sake and not for their own. Their presence is a healing presence because they accept you on your terms, and they encourage you to take your own life seriously and to trust you own vocation.
Our tendency is to run away from the painful realities or to try to change them as soon as possible. But cure without care makes is into rulers, controllers, manipulators, and prevents a real communion from taking shape.....Maybe simple because we ourselves are so concerned with being different from the others that we do not even allow ourselves to lay down our heavy armor and come together in a mutual vulnerability. Maybe we are so full of our own opinions, ideas, and convictions that we have no space left to listen to the other and learn from him or her.
To care means first of all to empty our own cup and to allow the other to come close to us. It means to take away the many barriers which prevents us from entering into communion with the other. When we dare to care, then we discover that nothing human is foreign to us, but that all the hatred and love, cruelty and compassion, fear and joy can be found in our own hearts."
The blog referred to is: Evan Gabriel Blog
More information on: Henri Nouwen
Picture by staffh@Flickr