I have read through Proverbs many times in my life and often have wondered what depth of meaning lies in this verse from Proverbs 14:13 – “Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief.” As I found my way through this day, I knew I was seeing the truth of this verse lived in others.
I had a wonderful day. I served at my 7-year old’s son school as a “Watchdog Dad.” Dads and Granddads of the school’s students can give a day to serve the school. It is a day when you get to do great service projects as well as spend time getting to know the people who, day in and day out, take care of the educational (and sometimes emotional and other) needs of so many wonderful children from your community. As much as i struggle to maintain my composure when dealing with my three children, I cannot imagine what a sacrifice it must be to deal with 20 or so kids, all of the same age, from 8 to 3 every day!
As I journeyed through the day I came across so many challenging stories. I heard about the cancer treatments one of the teachers faced, the sister who had lost her foot from an accident, the grandson who had been through ten surgeries related to a congenital heart problem, the daughter who had a cancerous tumor removed from her brain, and the son going through a divorce.
Had I raced through the day, all about myself, I might have missed these stories and the opportunities to pray for people. I could have easily been “on task” and “busy” and very culturally appropriate. I’m so glad I was able to see small glimpses of reality beyond myself. I regret that I often don’t slow down enough to see the heart ache behind the laughter or the grief behind the joy. And I regret that I wasn’t more brave to pray with some of the hearts revealed to me today, but I am praying for each of them now. I pray that I become more the type of person that not only slows down enough to listen and share in other people’s lives, but also a person who compassionately cares about the hurts and needs of others.
Everyone you see has a story and many, if not all, of them are difficult. May God make me a person who finds ways to comfort hurting hearts and who brings peace to troubled souls.