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Late last week a friend of the family’s father suddenly passed away at the age of 84.  Then, just before (as in the song before) I got up to preach Sunday morning, I found out that a former player of mine (I coach volleyball) had passed away the night before.  He had just graduated last year and was not only loved but beloved and cherished by everyone…everyone is his path.  Further, his family is extremely well known and loved as well.  Tragic, sudden, horrific, terrible,

Both tragedies and the second one in particular,  just turned our community upside down.  However, i noticed something in the wake of it all.  Several people, many more than a couple, used some variation of the phrase, “…this isn’t my story” or “this is not my pain.”  Granted for sure I corrected them with a social media post.  I hated to drop the hammer that way on them (sarcasm intended) but sometimes it just has to be done.

Then, this occurred to me.  Pain hits like an earthquake.  First, there is an epicenter.  This is an obvious illustration and thus those at the epicenter of the earthquake are those that the folks earlier would have said, “this is their story/pain.”  For my family, it was the 4 year saga and battle with Trey against cancer (extended) and ultimately his passing.  In the case of my former player it’s his family’s experiencing the crushing blows of this terrible pain earthquake.

Secondly, there are the concentric rings extending outward further and further.  For those closest to the epicenter, the pain is greater.  Perhaps there are some who only hear of the story or read about it and feel a tinge.  There is pain, but it varies with the proximity to the epicenter.  The pain, though, is still very real and each person is entitled to theirs.

Take it a step farther (further?).  If you had been through an earthquake in the past and were at the epicenter of that one, and now another one hits but you are a good bit aways from the center do you not think that the rumble and tremors of this one would remind you of the horror of the last one?  In fact everything would be amplified and the pain very real.

Such is the pain in real life.  We each own our own pain.  We are entitled to it.  To deny the pain or worse yet feel guilty (causing yourself pain…for feeling pain) for the pain would cause many more negative ramifications down the road.

Feel your pain, comfort, love and serve those in their pain, don’t judge others, don’t hinder your own healing.  Feel free to add to the earthquake illustration, there has to be something with a tsunami or something like that.  Be real and give yourselves a break, you deserve it, you need it.

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