How often do we want to "fix" someone else's broken heart, their agony, their fear, their journey? We can't stand to see someone else's woe. It breaks our own hearts, it takes us into the core of our own fears, own hurts, own woes. Or not. I'm not sure. I guess I can only speak for myself.
When I have encountered people, (my students, their mentors, friends) in pain, in abusive situations, in dire straights, seeming destitution, I have wanted to "fix it."
But Fr. Nouwen's words here make me wonder,
"What is enough? What am I called to do or be? What happens if all I am to do is stand alongside? Is pray? Is witness the ache, the deep wonder, the questions, and hold fast to the present moment? Is be love?"
I think the Buddhist Nun, Pema Chodron has taught me this, in her writing about being a "warrior of non-aggression" - one who is able to walk into "fire" without having to put it out.
More to meditate on. I invite you to hold Nouwen's words, along with this concept of Chodron's, and weigh the pain and heartache of your own life, your own circumstance, and be okay. Be present to to it.