Suffering in Silence
Therefore, brothers and sisters, you must be patient as you wait for the coming of the Lord. Consider the farmer who waits patiently for the coming of rain in the fall and spring, looking forward to the precious fruit of the earth. You also must wait patiently, strengthening your resolve, because the coming of the Lord is near. Don’t complain about each other, brothers and sisters, so that you won’t be judged. Look! The judge is standing at the door! Brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord as an example of patient resolve and steadfastness.
— James 5:7-10
All children at some point in their lives are afraid of the dark. I remember how I would work very hard to avoid dark places when I was a child, and I also remember how nervous and anxious I felt when I had to face dark places. My son is in that face now, and there have been times when I can even feel his distress when he is about to face his fear of the dark.
The feeling of fear can paralyze us, both mentally and physically, that is why my wife and I always encourage our two children to talk about their fears freely. Sadly, many people and many children cannot talk about their fears freely, and instead they suffer in silence. For families recovering from disasters caused by a hurricane, this is often the case, they suffer in silence because they need to focus on going back to normal as fast as possible.
Especially children are push to suffer in silence, because they are hoping to not add more on their parent’s plate as indicated in an article from the News and Observer from earlier in the fall , “A lot of children will unintentionally hide that they’re stressed out or that they’re emotional because they recognize the stress in their parents…and they somehow know that if they express their own need in that, that it is going to cause additional stress in Mom and Dad.”
The willingness to suffer in silence that many children facing adversity show is for sure an example of the patience James talks about, I dare to say that James’ invitation is to suffer with patience, for the sake of others. I wonder if Advent is about learning to suffer patiently, and often in silence so that others are strengthen. Perhaps the mystery behind suffering patiently is that helps us develop resilience.
Children are resilient, and what is beautiful is they often do it out of love, and for the sake of others. May this Advent and the next few days before Christmas be an opportunity to exercise patience, even more, may we pay more attention, so we can notice those who are suffering in silence around us, especially children.
PRAYER: Almighty God, you sent your son Jesus Christ because you heard humanity’s audible cry, but also you noticed humanity’s silence suffering. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and as we prepare to your second coming, help us to be patient, and to create spaces where people can stop suffering in silence, and rather experience the gift of your salvation. Amen.
— Ismael Ruiz-Millan