Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

March 5, 2010

I Can Only Imagine

I can only imagine what it must feel like to be a mother (or father), and when I do engage my imagination in thoughts of this vocation, I think perhaps the hardest part of it all would be to watch the suffering of your child and know that there is nothing that you can do to take it away. Sure, when children are sick you can comfort them, and certainly a mother never ceases to offer up little and great things for her children's spiritual and physical health. But there are some things that mother's love cannot save her children from, and it strikes me as the most devastating risk in loving another, especially your own flesh and blood, or those whose care you have been entrusted with through foster care or adoption.

I speak of my imagination insofar as I have two students, whom I dearly love and care for, who are carrying such great burdens that I cannot carry for them. While I am so incredibly humbled and blessed that they (and others) find that they can confide in me, it feels like a great responsibility to have the knowledge I do about their lives. I have been wondering, "Is it possible to feel TOO MUCH?" Compassion means to "suffer with." But what (if at all) are its limits?

Rest assured, I'm not locking myself up in my classroom and crying, paralyzed in sadness for them. I just feel their agony with them, very deeply. I have been ever grateful to the Lord for this capacity to feel things of others quite profoundly, but I always have to remind myself that I am NOT Christ. Lord, remind me that to be a Simon of Cyrene is not to be a savior.

Image found here.


Margaret Perry said...

I LOVE that painting. Thanks for posting this--perfect for this Friday...

Stephen said...

You make a very good point about Simon of Cyrene.

Here's an aphorism that you'll appreciate:

"Our own cross weighs us down less than the one we cannot help our beloved to carry."
--Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Jennie said...

I’ve been thinking about this post for the past couple of days. How tempting it can be to attempt to want to carry another’s cross. I love your prayer to be like Simon of Cyrene rather than the Savior.

I hope your students are doing okay. They’re lucky to have you as a teacher.

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