Interestingly enough, my day began with a strange twist. I began working on a post – and felt truly inspired. I worked for a while and pressed the “publish” button. Instead of publishing – poof! I was emotionally exhausted and, yes, I felt a bit hopeless. In vain, I tried to recover the original but it was gone. I got up from my chair and went about my day. The problem was, however, that the sense of disappointment clung to me. That is the way hopelessness works. It is the opposite of the Bible’s instruction to believers to put on the garment of praise. I exchanged one garment for another. In the last several weeks, I have seen two face book comments from two people who declared their suffering and hopelessness. I could imagine the despair they must have felt to reveal their broken hearts in a very public fashion. I do not know either of them but I commented to both of them. I would not presume to tell them that I understand what it feels like to live in their despair. I can only identify with the very human emotions of fear and pain. I understand the erosion of sickness upon the human spirit. I have experienced a moment to moment struggle to move a foot after surgery or a nerve damaged arm. I have felt friendless and useless; angry and joyless. I have felt hopeless. And today, I felt the cloud of hopelessness attempting to clothe me. After all, Linda, your neck hurts today. The pain of the loss of a dear, dear friendship stings beyond comfort. Wasn’t I lonely this morning. The pit of hopelessness looked inviting. After all, I’ve put up curtains and decorated that place quite nicely! Certainly, depression has been calling my name over the last six months. And yet, I still would not tell those two folks that I understand. Because I don’t. Each of us wars a different battle with the same forces. Each of us responds to tragedy and fear in our own way. We, who stand beside those who suffer are called to reach into the pit and hang on to the brokenhearted. We clothe ourselves in Jesus. He is the father to the fatherless, hope to the hopeless, our help in times of trouble. He is the answer. But we must be His arms, His feet, His mouth, and yes, His reflection. At the end of the day, when all of me is spent in my effort to survive emotionally and physically, I am still to kneel before the wounded around me, to bind those wounds with sacrificial love. I told those wounded face book folks that I cared for them and that I would pray for them. Lord, help me to reach down into the pit without myself falling. Help me to see with Your eyes the walking wounded and dying around me. In my little corner, in my me-centered world, help be Your hands.