Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child.” (Isaiah 66:13)
I used to faithfully watch the show, “Ghost Adventures.” The show aired on the Travel Channel, and it followed these three independent paranormal investigators who would lock themselves into a supposedly haunted building and try to agitate any spirits who might be there and waiting. I always found it fascinating because they were exploring the unknown and some of the evidence they would find, so far as I could tell, was quite compelling.
I just recently watched “The Conjuring 2”, which follows Ed and Loraine Warren as they investigate the Enfield House. For those of you not already aware, the Enfield House is one of the most documented “hauntings” ever. Located in the London area, Enfield was called “the Amittyville of England”, because of some similarities between the two cases and also the fact that the two hauntings happened in the late ‘70s, around the same time as each other.
Needless to say, tales about hauntings and possessions have always intrigued me because they seem so out there, and fanciful, that one is left wondering if they are ACTUALLY true. On the other hand, so many people throughout history have had some sort of paranormal experience that there must be some nugget of truth, right? Whether that is right or wrong, these films certainly capture the imaginiation and cause one’s skin to crawl when watching them.
As I was watching the Conjuring 2, I also picked up on something equally as intriguing. The story is about a girl and her family who live in a house that increasingly becomes an inhospitable place to live. To start out, we find out that the dad has bailed on the family and left them to fend for themselves. We don’t ever find out why; however, we see the results of his decision to abandon his family. The mother is left to figure out how to support her children and pay the bills. The daughters are each struggling to deal with the loss of their father.
The youngest daughter, Janet, is being bullied by other kids, who are calling her vulgar names and tormenting her. To add insult to injury, when the haunting begins to take place the mom calls the police come to investigate as she believes someone could be in the house. After witnessing paranormal activity, they report the “haunting” to the media who then interview the family and put it all over the tele (aka TV). Fojllowing that, all of Janet’s remaining friends abandon her, join in making fun of her and/or totally avoid her.
In other words, Janet’s life was HELL! The Catholic Church ended up sending Ed and Lorraine Warren to investigate because they did not want to risk their reputation on a potential hoax. While that is both understandable and a theological travesty at the same time, Ed and Lorraine do show up and they DO believe this girl and her family. That’s enough of the back story without giving anything else away.
The point of this is that, what ultimately ended up bringing healing to this girl and her family was the fact that someone ACTUALLY believed them. Someone took the time to listen to them, empathize with them, and not dismiss what they were going through. There is nothing worse than suffering through something and no one truly caring enough to understand or believe.
The challenge for us all is to be more empathetic and compassionate with others. We should believe them when they say their struggling. Even if it becomes discerned that they are not struggling in the ways they have expressed, it does not mean they are not struggling at all. We never truly know what they are going through and Christ calls us to witness to the compassionate, healing presence of God in the lives of others. We are not their judges, we are their servants. We should be open and willing to be present in the lives of those who are down and out. We would want no less for ourselves and we should be willing to do to others as we would have them do to us.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” – Albert Schweitzer
Lord, guide to those who need help and grow a more compassionate and empathetic spirit within me. Amen.