Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"At Least..."

I've had a breakthrough. I finally found the answer to what I've been thinking about the past two months in the video that I'll share later in this post. Denis and I are in a rough patch, probably the roughest rough patch I've roughly been through. I mean it's a serious one...sometimes I think I could take all the difficult times I've ever been through in my life wrap them up, feel them all at once and it still wouldn't come close to the hurt I have been feeling the last couple months. When you watch the video, it feels like I fell in a hole just like that, but instead the hole is a mile deep.

I've been trying my hardest to find comfort and peace. What has been disappointing, disheartening and depressing for me is that I haven't found a lot of comfort from those around me. Don't get me wrong, I know that others are not responsible for making me feel happy etc. (only I can do that), but finding comfort is not about being happy again. For me, it's about finding safe places to feel everything I feel without any judgement.

As others have tried their best to "comfort" us during the last couple months, I've been wondering why humans, in general, struggle to do this for each other and how I can learn to comfort those around me better. Honestly, no matter what advice people would give me, it was not what I needed or wanted to hear. I kept thinking to myself, "What is the matter with you? Why are you being so hard on everyone? Why can't you just realize that they are trying their very best to help you?" I felt like such a horrible person because I couldn't find the comfort I yearned for in other people's advice.

I've thought about the times I've felt like I was comforted in exactly the way I needed. Why did I feel comforted then, but not other times? What was the difference? I couldn't put my finger on it...until I watched this video. It teaches that empathy is much different than sympathy. When people need comfort, they our need empathy not our sympathy.



My husband is my number one place to go to feel comfort, he has been so empathetic because he knows exactly how I'm feeling and he is feeling it with me. My parents have been very empathetic and supportive. They are so wonderful. I can't tell you because I can't count how many sobbing phone calls my mom (and dad) has had to listen to in the past two months...I mean I don't think I would have her patience. If I were her listening to me all the time, I would have told myself to buck up and get over it by now. But no, not my mom. She would never say that. Instead, do you know what she does? She cries when I cry. She sobs when I sob. She grieves as I grieve. And I know she feels some of what I feel. She never makes me feel like I need to apologize for the way I'm feeling. She just lets me be and is there with me, listening and connecting, while we sit in that mile deep, dark hole together.

"Willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort", that scripture has been on my mind constantly. What this video made me finally realize is that as humans (me included), we tend to forget a crucial part of this scripture..."mourn with those that mourn". It doesn't say, "feel sad with those that feel sad and then try to make them feel better". No, it tells us to mourn with them. The end. That's it. Don't try to make it feel better. Don't try to give happy advice. Don't ever say "at least...". Instead, just feel with them.

I hope I can be better at comforting others, now that I'm learning and understanding more about it. I know I'll never be perfect at it, because no one is, but I really want to be better at it and I think I will be after watching that little video.

At least now I know never to say the words "At least..." when I'm trying to comfort someone.

5 comments:

Mama G said...

That post really, really helps me --thank you--I love you.

The Monkeys said...

I loved that little video. When Rob rejoined the army after being a full time seminary teacher for 6 years, I was devastated. I didn't want to be in the army and I was mad at him and God. My friends kept doing those platitudes-- Hey, think of all you will learn, etc. It made me so mad. I just wanted someone to say- I wish you didn't have to go. I will miss you! This sucks! I learned a lot about what to say and what not to. Platitudes never help. They make you feel judged, like you weren't good enough to think of how this is really a blessing in disguise from the Lord or whatever the platitude is. I know you would have thought of all of them. The problem is, we don't always know what to say or do, especially when we are far away and can't just give you a hug!

Cassie said...

That video is spot on, and I hope to grow in grace in that area. But for today, I'm thinking of y'all. And when we leave this year behind, I plan to be in France flipping 2013 the bird (proverbially speaking, at least). Here's hoping for brighter days in 2014.

Mikell Sudweeks said...

Love you Lis

Sara said...

Dear Lis-face
Sending you love from Oregon!
Rough patches suck. If I lived in Ohio I would come over and eat cool ranch Doritos with you for hours.
That is all.

- your favorite Sara in the whole world :)
And here's my email! b.eldon@hotmail.com.