Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week’s reflection was written by writer/editor Jordan Kimbrell.
As a child, I remember being able to tell when an adult was upset. I didn’t always understand why, but I could tell there was something going on. My solution? To go up to the adults and tell them they looked like they needed a hug — and then give them one. I figured that if getting a hug made me feel better, it would probably make others feel better too.
As I’ve gotten older, noticing others’ distress is sometimes more difficult because I’m too focused on my own worries and issues. Deadlines and bills and all sorts of things I never had to worry about as a child crowd my mind. It’s so easy to slip into a mode where I’m irritable with others, losing patience when things don’t go smoothly or quite as expected.
But despite the cares of adulthood, or perhaps because of them, I think it’s especially important for us all to have extra care for each other. In a time when so many are divided by opinions and allow those divisions to infect their relationships, it’s good to take a step back and consider each person individually.
We should strive to stop and consider what might be going on in someone’s life that might make them act the way they do, and think about times when we have been less than pleasant ourselves.
As Pope Francis once said, “It is fundamentally important that we promote greater empathy in society, and not remain indifferent to our neighbor’s cry for help. … We should be sensitive towards all, regardless of religious belief, social standing or culture.”
After all, sometimes all we need is a hug and an acknowledgement that we’re not alone in facing our struggles.
Lord, thank you for your patience and endless mercy. Help us grow in empathy so we may show even a fraction of that mercy and patience to all we encounter. Open our hearts and minds so we are more caring, more compassionate to our fellow human beings. We ask this in your name. Amen.