Comforted

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“I want to speak yet nothing comes
I find no words to express the depths of darkness
Sometimes I feel the pain is so great that everything will break
The smile is a big cloak that covers a multitude of pains”

Do you know who wrote these words??
I was listening to a TEDx talk on Hope and Hopelessness by Murray Watts and he read this quote. And then he turned to the audience and asked us (I’m saying us like I was there–but I watched the talk from the comfort of my bedroom. Definitely felt like I was part of the audience though).. He asked us, “Which famous 20th century figure penned these words?” And guess who it was?? MOTHER TERESA.

Yes, the same Mother Teresa who won the 1979 Nobel peace prize, who was referred to as the “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta,” and who is admired by both the religious and non-religious for her lifetime dedication to helping others. The very same Mother Teresa who said “peace begins with a smile,” “let no one come to you without leaving happier,” and that “the smile is the beginning of love.”

The truth is Mother Teresa was human, just like us. After hearing this talk I searched for more of her writings in which she shares:

“There is so much contradiction in my soul, no faith, no love, no zeal. . . I find no words to express the depths of the darkness. . . My heart is so empty. . . so full of darkness. . . I don’t pray any longer. The work holds no joy, no attraction, no zeal. . . I have no faith, I don’t believe. . . my cheerfulness is a cloak by which I cover the emptiness and misery. . . . I deceive people with this weapon.”

It’s kinda sad. That someone could be so outwardly amazing, but so inwardly broken. I think though that how she felt describes many people today. People who are so busy keeping up pretenses that they don’t have time to fall apart at Jesus’ feet. It is possible to have a genuine smile that crinkles your skin when it reaches your eyes. It is possible for you to be truly cheerful and be positive about life, even when circumstances are bleak. It is possible for the emptiness to go away, and to swim in faith and love.

I wanted to tell you about Mother Teresa, because in case you’ve ever felt hopeless, you’re in good company: You’re sitting next to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Job in the land of Uz, Paul in Macedonia (where he was “harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within” – 2 Corinthians 7:5). But in the next verse, Paul shares with us an assurance that still applies to us today: “But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us.” (2 Corinthians 7:6)

May God comfort you.

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