How to Love Your Neighbor Who is Suffering – Amy Lively

Guest Post by Darci J. Steiner

As I sat staring out my bedroom window at the random houses in view, I thought about each of their stories. I was broken, unable to move, and in excruciating pain. My suffering consumed every moment except for when I prayed. So, I prayed a lot. I prayed for the unseen brokenness inside of each home. My eyes shifted from one house to the next, praying for their stories, unbeknownst to me—but God knew. There must be some people hurting as much as me.

I have a severe nerve pain disorder called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). The syndrome causes my body to overfire pain signals to my brain, making me think I have more pain than I do. When I was cleaning up after my oldest daughter’s wedding, a heavy wooden chair slid down from leaning against a wall and hit my ankle. It should have been a simple sprained ankle, but after 3.5 years, I’ve only begun to walk again, and I cannot drive. When I walk, I feel as if corkscrews are piercing through my feet. I can take only so much pain before I must sit. But even then, I hurt.

I realized how many of my neighbors I don’t know, and even the ones I do—I don’t know deeply about their sufferings. I’m sure suffering people inhabit each home, whether they are going through trials of physical adversity like me, divorce, financial stress, addictions, pornography, infidelity, infertility, grief, depression, loneliness, anxiety, children struggling in school, and so on. All of us suffer, and all of us need friends.

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