God uses broken people like you and me to rescue broken people like you and me—Eddie Cortes
The young mom and mother-in-law trudged through the cattle corral in deep, thick, gooey, sticky mud. Their boots sunk knee deep to get to that cow that needed milking. They pushed and pulled the cow into the milking stall, where at last they could accomplish their business. While watching this scene on the show “Alaska: The Final Frontier,” I thought how we often find ourselves trudging through the muck of life, too.
We all have our own versions of “muck.” Maybe our muck is called financial problems, or relationship problems, or challenging health issues. Sometimes the muck dries up; sometimes it sticks around, becoming a familiar, daily trek. We trudge through that muck, one slurpy, sloppy step at a time.
Dealing with our own muck is one thing…but walking through someone else’s muck, with them, is another matter. Sometimes I feel ill equipped to do so, or I’ve never gone through what someone else has gone through, and I feel as if I have nothing to offer. Maybe their muck is just super messy…do I want to be dragged down into it? I know I’ve been guilty of a “judgy” attitude, too: your poor choices got you into this muck! It’s sort of like applying the stupid driver law to someone else’s life…sure, I’m going to help rescue you from this disaster…but I’m going to be thinking, didn’t you read the warning signs that said don’t cross while flooded?
When we’re called to serve others, we’re willing to put our highest boots on to cross through the muck, whether to walk side by side through it, or figure out some way to push or pull them through this muck, to reach the higher ground. This year, through my volunteering, I’ve been exposed to muck I never thought I’d deal with: the consequences of childhood abuse and trauma. Volunteering as a foster mentor, I’ve seen the underbelly of life. It’s a heartbreaking arena. It’s also one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I hear extremely painful stories. But I witness optimism and resilience in little traumatized lives that can only be a gift by the grace of God.
I’m no expert. But here are a few lessons learned when entering into the muck of someone else’s life. Pray. Love. Suspend judgment over how or why someone got into the situation. Get the information, resources, or training you need to provide help. Seek wise, Godly counsel from others who can support you. And, take care of yourself. Being in the muck of life is fatiguing, physically and emotionally. I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. I can no longer be a bystander when the mud’s arising. But, I’m going to make sure I’ve got my mud boots on, and I’m prepared to get a little dirty.