Quote of the Week

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Sue Monk Kidd (again)

I’m reading her book, The Invention of Wings, which is set in the early 1800’s and follows the stories of two women in Charleston — a woman named Handful, an urban slave, and her unwilling owner, Sarah.  I’m not quite halfway through the book but I’m liking it so far.

I read this line last night and it resonated as I have found this to be true in my own life.

“There’s no pain on earth that doesn’t crave a benevolent witness.” 


Pain is lessened, I think, when someone kind is able to bear witness.  I don’t know exactly why this is so, but I see it even in my kids.  When someone is mean to them or they fall down and hurt themselves, they immediately look around to see if someone (usually me) saw what happened to them.  It justifies the feelings that they are having.  They want to know if someone saw it; if someone is there to say, “Wasn’t that awful?  I’m so sorry.”

Somehow, when someone else can say, “yes, I SEE you, I see what just happened to you,”  you no longer bear the entirety of the load by yourself.   And I think we crave the benevolent witness for that reason.