Self dispossession is the price solidarity exacts
~ M Shawn Copeland
I love asking questions. Most of my life, I have been asking questions, only difference is how and where I ask them as time has passed. I remember when I got employed after college, the secretary at our department was fed up with my questions and one day she raised her voice exasperated and said:
“Joyce! You are like a walking questionnaire!”
One of the questions that has been swirling in my mind for years is the question of solidarity amongst those who claim affinity to the Christian faith. I have suffered a lot in the 37 years I have been on the face of the earth and it is around this suffering that this question arose. I always wondered, sometimes out loud, why are the people of faith unable to fully empathize with those who suffer – physical, emotional, social, mental, spiritual suffering? I always wondered why it is that people of faith seemed lost when in the presence of another suffering human being. For years I asked God this question as well as fellow human beings who proclaim the Christian faith.
I remember when I lost my second child. The most awkward visitors I got were from the church. They looked lost, uncomfortable, out of place. In the end, while nursing my own physical and emotional wounds I cracked jokes to ease the palpable tension. This made them very happy. They ended up extolling my resilience and courage and ability to endure suffering and still laugh. In laughter they easily were enjoined with me, but as soon as my pain showed they coiled into themselves. I found it so odd.