The truth is that as I listen to other’s pain, it touches me, it sings to me and ultimately it marks me. I am not wanting to be relieved of this part of my job, but I am learning in unexpected ways that the pain of others is tutoring my own heart.

Today I am reminding pain of these three things (reserving the right to add to this list):

1) Pain cannot carry a tune. Ever listen to an off key musician (think of Phoebe on Friends and her guitar)? Pain scales all of the notes seeking to find harmony, but it cannot because harmony would destroy the very purpose of pain; so instead it just sings louder and more obnoxious seeking to be heard.

2) Pain demands retreat. The simple body language of pain is to pull away, move away and into the familiar brain patterns…alone. Yet there is a dangerous moment when a choice can be seen to identify, name and acknowledge pain. This moment also has the potential to reveal the hands and hearts that are outstretched in our direction. We will be able to distinguish these because they will be accompanied by love, reminding us we matter and we are seen.

3) Pain does not define identity.  When I watch the wounds of the past pounce upon people’s lives, I am often caught off guard by how familiar the tunes are that have long defined existence through singing, “You are alone, no one cares.”  Yet it is the pain-filled eyes that always remind me of the beauty of another that is being masked by this pain – nothing has the power to erase real beauty it is carved in our DNA.

During the night a random song came to me, Drunkard’s Prayer (it is my “go-to” melody, when I cannot even remember how to pray). My goal is not to out sing the pain, but instead pray that those who are hearing the song of pain, just might notice the melody of something that is being sung in harmony.

What is tune are you singing?