"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." -Emerson

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It could always be worse...and other phrases I hate

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
-Revelation 21:4 NIV

This past year, I have had to deal with a series of separations from my husband. No "real" deployment of say 6 months or longer, but by the time this year ends, it will have totaled almost what one might consider a "real" deployment. I have found myself annoyed and often times, angered by the responses of many well meaning people. When I find myself sharing the news that the hubby is leaving yet again and I answer the question of "For how long?", I inevitably receive a "well, that's not bad" response. Now I know, it could always be worse, but sometimes, you just want people to acknowledge that sometimes it just sucks to have to go through another separation.

I have really considered this response lately. Why do we so many times try to downplay something in another's life that is a challenge or trial? Why do we so often rely on the response, "it could always be worse" or "well, it's not that bad"? I am asking this question not to condemn those who said those phrases to me, but to look at myself and how I respond to a friend's heartache. I think so often it takes more time and energy to get in the midst of people's stuff, so we often to choose a trite response we think can band aid the situation. Yet, our response not only does not repair the heartache of a friend, it can often add a little salt to their wound, saying to them, you're pain is not real or significant. Ouch! I pray for forgiveness to those to whom my response has said this to their heart.

This year, I have watched my family undergo tremendous tragedy and have seen countless Christians fearful to involve themselves in the midst of it. While this could have left a bad taste in my mouth, God has used it to show me how I am afraid to get involved in the messy stuff of life in the lives of others. We often want to fix or solve things that break, but the truth of the matter is there is only one fixer and solver. Lift that monumental burden off your shoulders because it does not belong to you! Instead, what people need from us mere mortal types is someone to hear them, acknowledge their pain or challenge, and then journey through it with them. The more we do this, the more we will realize we can never fix it, only God can. Hopefully, this realization will push us towards lifting up those whose lives are broken.

Military life is hard. Regular life is hard. And sometimes we just need another person to agree with us on that. Then, just pray for us and journey with us through this messy thing called life.
Here's to no more triteness...

Until next time,


Lindsay (aka Linz) said...

I will *agree* with you, Catherine. Life is just hard. And I so admire you for your convictions and how you make yourself available to be used of God to convict me. Thank you, dear friend. :)

Amanda said...

I hate that phrase too... I hear the phrase "doing life together" so often. But when difficulties arise, and "doing life together" is what I need from my support system often what I'll get is that triteness instead. It's like those people who always ask, "How are you?" and don't really want to know.

Pattie said...

AMEN! I'm spotlighting your blog this month for Wives of Faith, and I'm pulling a quote from this entry. Wonderful!!! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

People have a tendency to offer platitudes as if putting a bandaid on a bullet wound will help. Rather than help, it basically belittles the feelings of horror, fear and terror that the wounded person is trying to convey.

Minimizing by words does nothing to minimize the facts.