Tonight Mazvita has arranged for our little group to listen to the stories of three victims of torture. To be honest, I found my chest tightening, self-protectively, when I was told of this meeting. As much as I want to be a source of compassion, I notice some deep part of me is afraid to listen and be vulnerable to the deep suffering of another human being? Why is that? I guess there is some fear that if I listen to this suffering, I too will be harmed in some way.
How difficult it is for me to take in the nonsensical violence that surrounds my world each day (wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, methamphetamine use in my own region, random acts of violence in my own town, the pain and suffering I notice in the eyes of neighbors and friends). I encounter suffering and violence each day through news, Internet, interactions with friends and neighbors and yet I often hurry past it. There is some fear in me, some fear in all of us, that encourages distance from those who have suffered. I hope I am able to just be present and open to those we meet tonight. It is certainly what I would hope for if I were the one asked to share my pain.