Have I done any good in the world today? These words come to my mind and often bring thoughts of action and service. I want to leap in and help, to fix people's problems. When I cannot think of some way to bless another's life I often feel lost or helpless.
Recently I have been contemplating the words of a promise I have made to "mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort" (The Book of Mormon, Mosiah chapter 18 verse 9). Jesus Christ was a perfect example of this when he came to his friends Mary and Martha after the death of their brother, Lazarus. Even with his power over death, he did not immediately sweep in to fix things, he cried with them. He mourned with them. He validated their feelings of heartache and suffering. Then, when this was done, he showed his power over the grave and raised Lazarus from the dead.
How often do I feel upset and just need someone to tell me that it's okay that I feel this way, to sit with me, feeling my pain, holding me up while I'm struggling to hold it together? How often do I hurt for someone else's hurt? Do I go to them? Do I tell them I am mourning with them? Do I bear them up and provide comfort?
Are we so eager to fix someone, that we forget they are not a problem to be fixed, but a person with very real feelings? There are problems we cannot solve. There are things we can't do for others. We can offer to hold their hand through their trials. We can cry with them. We can hug them, hold them, and give words of comfort. These are not lesser things. After the mourning is done, if we can find ways to help then we get busy, but let us not forget first to mourn with them.
As a parent it is instinct to keep our children from feeling pain. In some cases, would it be better for them to feel the real pain of the consequences of their actions? This may give us the opportunity to sit with them and help them deal with these feelings, to show compassion and let them know we are hurting right along with them. After validating their feelings, then we can offer assistance in righting any wrongs. Maybe there are times that we minimize their feelings because they are crying over what we see as childish things. I'm sure God could look at my whining and think the same about me, but still He shows me grace and love. I hope that I can be an example to my children of that love. Maybe next time my son cries because something is not 'fair', instead of telling him that life isn't fair, I can sit with him and mourn with him and discuss the pains of life that come from unfairness. Maybe we can find ways to make the world a little better for someone else, even if we can't make it fair.
While mourning with those that mourn I am able to feel more love toward others and have more healing in my own heart. When I give of myself to others, I am gaining so much and learning more of the divine potential in each of us.