Taking on another’s pain
Our family was shaken to the core by the suicide of my brother. Life was never the same again for us. I myself began to doubt my faith. My days became emptier and lost meaning, until one day I realized that my attitude was not helping my parents at all. I gathered up all my strength in order to take on their terrible pain, so that by sharing it with them, their tragic burden might be lightened. Gradually, in this way, I found that my own wounds began to heal as well. It was not easy, but it’s helping me too, now that I have myself become a mother.
Making room for others
I married Marcello when I was 24. We had so much in common, including our faith, and we dreamt of the beautiful family we would have together. Fifteen years later, Marcello was taken from me in an accident. For six years I remained trapped within the unanswerable “Why me?” until the day I accepted an invitation to a meeting, where people spoke about God-Love. This disturbed me, but gradually the words sank in and began to change something inside. Then I heard how, out of love for us, Jesus on the cross had experienced abandonment from the Father, crying out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” and my own forsaken cry began to make sense. My situation had not changed, I was still a widow, but within me I was able to begin loving once more. Looking around, I noticed how many people were experiencing a void as great as my own. The more I was able to make room for them, the more God filled me with His own peace.
Considering those who will come after me
I’m a teacher. At the end of each lesson, I try to leave the classroom in order for those who will use the room after me. I keep the desk tidy, the teaching board clean, the windows open, so as to let in fresh air. Each room has two waste baskets: one for paper and the other for all other discarded items. Often, when I find their contents mixed up, I try to sort the rubbish so it is all in the correct basket. This means I often lose a few minutes of my break time, which should be to regain strength for my next lessons, but I believe it is definitely time “lost” well!
Joy in serving
When our son died after the treatment he received proved ineffective, my wife began to suffer from depression. She found visits from other children unbearable, and gradually, we became quite isolated to the extent that life didn’t have meaning anymore. One day, we got to know a community that tried to put the words of the Gospel into practice. One Gospel sentence made a big impact on her and changed her life: “There is more joy in giving than receiving.” After reflecting for a while, she went back to work as an assistant in a center for children suffering from cancer. From then on, she recovered very quickly. One day, she shared with me about the joy she found in serving other children.
The shoe rack
Poor health had forced me to stay at home for a few weeks. Yet I wanted to do something, so I decided to make a shoe rack but I did such a bad job – it had so many defects – that I was quite depressed with the result. My wife and children, however, kept telling me that it was wonderful and continued praising me. That made me think that maybe it wasn’t as terrible as it had seemed first to me, and so I began to make other items that would be useful around the house. When I finally returned to work, I was really happy to see my colleagues again. I think love had helped me get well.
S.V., Czech Republic