Secret Pain

We’ve all done it. Innumerable times, in fact. We’ve masked our pain with a smile, forced a lilt to our voices, or answered a “how are you doing” with a fake “fine”. We suffer a private, secret pain that we’re unable or unwilling to share with anyone outside our closest circle of family or friends for any number of reasons.

Our hearts are breaking, but we have to carry on a life-as-usual façade to keep questions at bay and protect our own or someone else’s privacy. The time may come to share the struggle, but that time is not now. For now, we wipe our eyes and steel our hearts as we venture outside our homes and face the world beyond. We can only hope that we’re met with kindness instead of more difficulty.

Does it dawn on us that others may be doing the same? Especially during periods when heartache is not our companion, do we remember that someone we meet during the day may be struggling to keep her composure while walking on shaky emotional legs?

When we take a moment to remember that, a moment to look beyond the automatic smile for the public, we’ll want to be a little kinder in our interactions with one another. We’ll want to add an extra measure of warmth to our smiles or a soothing touch to our voices. We’ll want to make sure the people who cross our paths are met with kindness.

Let’s never forget the secret pains we’ve endured. Let’s remember and extend a loving touch—even if just for a moment—to those who may be in the midst of such heartache today.

And if you’re among those bearing a secret pain right now, know that God sees you. He cares. May this post be His loving touch to your hurting heart today. . .

“When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’” Luke 7:13

*Has anyone unwittingly touched you with kindness during a time of secret pain? How did he or she do it?

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out last week. It’s still not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

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*Flickr photo by seyed mostafa zamani


  1. I love this. So so so true and a good reminder to look at the hurts others may be and are carrying.

  2. Cheryl, this is such a timely reminder for me! I had a passing short conversation last week at church with a young mom and when I asked the standard “How are you today?” her mouth answered “Fine,” but her eyes betrayed the truth.

    I made myself a note to contact her during the week and…well, you know how it goes.

    Your post brought it all back to my mind. I’ll try to contact her by email right now.

    Love and blessings to you!

  3. Wonderful post. If there was a Like button I would press it, too. :) We never know what someone we cross paths with might be going through.

  4. Ladies, so glad this post has been meaningful to you!

    And Vonda, thanks for sharing how this put someone’s need back on your mind. I love how the Lord works! Loved hearing from you!

  5. Hi Cheryl,

    I love the times when friends have seen more and asked, if I hadn’t had a chance to bring it up yet.

    Thanks for the good reminder to look deeply into others’ eyes as well today.

    Jennifer Dougan

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