Many years ago I worked as a teller in a local credit union. A man would come in weekly, demanding his money, not a smile, no eye contact, nothing. He was rough around the edges no doubt and when I first started I was warned that he is always like that. It took some time before I realized his pain. He often carried a crutch and sometimes wobbled as he walked towards the bullet proof glass. I could not see where his pain was coming from but it was obviously physical and I when I looked into his eyes I could see it was emotional, spiritual, deeper than the eye could see. He was hurting. He was a hurting man and I could only love him in the moment. I could smile, offer grace and pray for his body and soul.
One in every five people, approximately 50 million Americans suffer from an autoimmune disease. And many more suffer from pain due to injuries, cancer and so many other reasons. My heart aches for those whose body silently ravages from within and from without, no one knows. No one knows why they speak harsh, lash at the cashier and quickly go on their way. No one knows why that person parks in the disability parking. They look just fine when really that person experiences pain when they have trudged through the grocery store for longer than ten minutes. No one knows what is going on in that grouchy, rude person’s home. No one knows the secrets in their hearts and the pain they face.
We can’t see very deep, the wounds around people’s spirit’s, their souls, their bodies. We can’t understand what every one is going through but we can offer grace, love, prayer. We can offer a smile and a door wide open. We can offer a touch or a hug. We can offer words of affirmation. We just don’t know how deep or healing our behavior will be. Pray for the grouchy person, the rude or unresponsive cashier, yes, even the person who cuts us off while driving. Pray and offer grace.