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In The Desperate Times

I volunteer.

Last night as I fulfilled my four-hour shift at the counseling center, I absorbed and listened to pain. I heard desperation. Stories of loss, of uncertainty for what comes next, of an aching that nothing sets free.

I reflected feelings of hopelessness, sadness, loneliness. I listened and I heard, and tried to understand. I asked questions. I empathized.

In the moments I feel hopeless or lonely, my hope is that I remember my own words and understanding. It’s not always through words that we can express compassion and empathy. Sometimes it is in silence and the reassurance that “I’m still here.” Will I be here for myself? I hope to remember to look for that which will get me through the desperate moment. It will pass. Distraction works, so does beauty in the world, in music, in art, in love.

We are all the same. We cycle through pain and goodness continuously. Experiences differ, to be certain, but we are all only steps away from that desperate feeling when pain comes to visit. It’s not a matter of strength or weakness. Sometimes it’s just the need to tell your story. Will anyone listen? Will you listen and empathize with your own pain?

Pain is the same.


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