Pain comes to all of us. It comes in the form of physical, emotional, and mental. The physical pain we get. It’s visible. We understand it. The crutches explain the broken leg and the bed explains the flu. Mental pain we get. It, too, is visible. We may not understand it completely, but we accept it for what it is.

But emotional pain is more elusive. It slips through our fingers when we try to understand it. A broken heart is not healed quickly. We may see the effects of it but cannot readily define it. We just want the pain to go away.

I am not going to pretend I understand the pain of famine, genocide, or the pain of watching a loved one suffer with a terminal illness.

I do understand the pain of losing a child, abandonment, rejection, disappointment, loneliness, discouragement and more.

And I’m not going to tell you, “Pain is pain.” It isn’t.

But I do understand what hope is and how it feels to have it … and not to have it. I also understand how a little encouragement, in a small gesture such as a hand on my shoulder, a smile, or a few caring words, can keep me going for days!

If you’re inclined, it would warm my heart if you were encouraged through my Monday, Wednesday, and Friday passages … real words about real pain … for real people, like you.