To Love Someone is to Know Their Pain

Do you have hurts you carry, hidden inside that few, if anyone, sees? Wounds of the soul. Has there ever been a time when a situation, words in print, or a conversation can bump into that wound, causing it to open and bleed again?

Such was my state recently. A wound, a trigger, then a re-opening of the wound. I bled grievous words. My husband sat patiently and listened as the words tumbled out. He’s heard it before. His love for me coupled with a maturity forged by time and experience kept him silent. No quick answers given. No here’s-how-to-fix-it platitudes.

Listening ears and compassionate eyes are love in quiet motion. To love someone is to know their pain. 



Madeleine L’engle tells a story in Walking on Water of a Rabbi, known for his piety, who was confronted by one of his faithful students:

“In a burst of feeling, the young disciple exclaimed, “My Master, I love you!” The ancient teacher looked up from his books and asked his fervent disciple, “Do you know what hurts me, my son?”

The young man was puzzled. Composing himself, he stuttered, “I don’t understand your question, Rabbi.  I am trying to tell you how much you mean to me and you confuse me with irrelevant questions.”

“My question is neither confusing nor irrelevant,” rejoined the Rabbi, “for if you do not know what hurts me, how can you truly love me?”



Love listens and hears.

Love is patient to learn what hurts…their spouse, a friend.

Love is a balm, soothing the vulnerable heart that shares its pain.

Who do you love? When is the last time you loved them by listening to and learning their pain? Love them by knowing what hurts them.



Soul-bearing is not an instant-message matter. It’s not a tweet or a status update. Most often what is seen on social media is a sham, a cover. My status doesn’t reveal my innermost person: my greatest joys, fears, and hurts. It might expose what I believe, a bit of my character, or how I may be doing on a given day. Yet it is a most inhospitable place to expose soul-wounds; a most impossible place to listen to the pain others carry.

The psalmist writes,

God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer. My heart is overwhelmed. I pour out my complaint to you, I tell you all my troubles.” (Psalms 61, 142)

He was heard, because he was loved.

If you carry a soul-wound today, I pray you have a special person who will love you by listening. If that is not possible at this time, God loves you enough to hear and listen when you bleed words from the heart.

Try it.

Because you are loved like that, in an everlasting way.

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