The moment we entered into this bright and shiny world, we entered a space and time that would undoubtedly bring about days of joy and happiness. Our parents promised to protect us from harm, to lead us through the highs and shield us from the lows. And I hope that for most of us, that has proven to be true. But we also know that the moment we entered into this bright and shiny world, there would be days when that shield of protection would falter and crumble, not because of any wrongdoing, but because life must be experienced in a myriad of ways.
When it comes to those instances in our lives when we experience such heartbreaking and debilitating pain, whether because of a divorce, the death of a loved one, the loss of an income, etc. nothing in my mind is worse than when we decide to be vulnerable with our sweet and fragile souls only to be told...
it could be worse.
Is it just me, or are those three, seemingly simple words laced with a harshness that's hard to overcome? While not intended by the giver, I assume, they feel aggressive in nature. It's as if I were to tell my good friend while in the midst of a financial disaster that it's a shame she finds herself in a position where she can't pay her bills, but it could be worse; she could be living on the streets.
How would such a direct and matter-of-fact response be received and accepted into her delicate heart?
We assume that by relaying this piece of all-knowing wisdom, we will allow her the opportunity to put her pain into perspective, and to a certain extent, it might very well do the trick. But in most instances, I would guess, she begins to feel guilt and shame set in over her pain because she's just been told that her sadness is not nearly as important or as vital as someone else's. So rather than dealing with her grief in a healthy way, she stuffs it down. She tells herself that she has no right to be feeling the way she is, so rather than immerse herself in these thoughts and try to heal from them, she should go around them.
But let me tell you something - around never works.
Through is the only way.
Here's what we need to remember about our pain. The reality is that there will always be another person who is suffering more than we are. To the mother who just lost her son, there is another mother dealing with the loss of her two sons. For the father who was diagnosed with cancer, there is the father down the street who just lost his battle. For the family who is living without one income, there is the family who is living without two.
You see, our job in this life is not to one-up each other's pain; it's not something to compete with. We should allow each other the grace to sit down, take a deep, healing breath in, and allow those precious feelings to take up space in our heart for as long as we feel they need to be there; until, and only when, we are ready to move forward.
So let's make a promise to each other today, can we?
I promise not to take away your pain...
if you promise not to take away mine.