When Kathryn and I were dating, her grandmother (lovingly called ‘Mom-mom’) began experience catastrophic health problems. She had a series of strokes and ended up in a full-time nursing facility. Kathryn’s parents visited her daily and cared for her needs. Kat and I would go visit her on occasion. It was tough for me because I did not have a close relationship with Mom-mom at the time.

It was while she was in assisted living center and later, nursing home that God created a beautiful doorway to enter into a relationship with Mom-mom. We got to know each other more and more as we visited. She spent many months in the home as her condition would deteriorate then improve, and deteriorate again.

On one occasion, Kat and her parents were all out of town at the same time. They asked me to check on Mom-mom while they were away.  I remember that she was in bad shape, confined to a bed and surrounded by machines. So, I sat with her and talked to her as I held her frail hand in mine. We talked about Kathryn. I told Mom-mom how much I loved Kat. I made Mom-mom a promise that day. I promised her that I would take care of Kathryn no matter what happened. A few weeks later, sweet Mom-mom passed away.

Our daughter carries Mom-mom’s name, Lillian (Lilly). I still carry Mom-mom’s kindness and words of encouragement in my heart to this day.

What if God in his perfect wisdom creates doorways through suffering to bring people into authentic relationship?

Would this change your view of suffering?

It may be easier to recognize severe physical suffering. Perhaps you’ve had a family member who’s had a stroke and lost function of a section of their body? Or maybe you’ve seen the suffering that terminal cancer causes in a good friend?

“Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” (Unknown)

Walk through an entire day and you will come into contact with many types of suffering. In many cases suffering goes unnoticed unless you are connected in intimate relationship with a person. Also, suffering can have many layers and faces.

Loneliness, loss and depression are forms of suffering.
Losing hope is the worst kind of suffering.

Maybe it’s worth exploring suffering with spiritual eyes to see that when all the stuff we strive for in life is at the bottom of a trash heap, the only thing of lasting value is relationship. Suffering is everywhere! So, there are doorways everywhere to step through into relationship.  I encourage you to consider what your life would be like if you stepped through a doorway.  People have stepped into my suffering when I needed to be loved and supported.

Share your thoughts below!
Has someone stepped into your life when you were suffering?
Maybe you have stepped though the doorway into someone’s life?