When you’re going through a crisis it’s very easy to become all consumed by that particular thing. It’s easy to check-out of certain situations and focus solely on what is troubling you in your life. And in a sense, I think sometimes we do need to focus on what is going on in our lives and pay particular attention to our struggles and pain, however, as we need to be able to ask for help from our friends and loved ones, we should not tune out their cries for help or their daily struggles either.
After I shared my current story with a friend, he said to me, “I was just listening to our colleague talk about this stupid situation and compared to what you’re going through, it’s such a pithy little insignificant thing.” (I don’t think he actually used the word pithy..) And I remember understanding how he could think that way, because sometimes I do too, but also realizing that less than a month ago, my greatest struggle was something seemingly insignificant compared to my current one, yet at the time, it was big to me. We all have plates filled with different things and who is to really say that one person’s struggle is any less emotional and upsetting than someone else’s?
This brings me to a realization I had yesterday. Yes, due to the fact that in my social circle here, my story is probably one of the more dramatic ones, I have become rather focused on talking about me. I realized yesterday that I had talked to one of my friends on three separate occasions this week and not once, had I asked how she was really doing. I know she’s going through a few difficult things yet I think I just sort of thought that my thing was more important and so I was very selfish in that friendship. This is not right.
We have a close family friend who has had a very sick daughter for many years. She has every reason in the world to focus on herself and her family yet whenever any of us make contact with her, she is so completely encouraging and gracious. She is always thinking about everyone around her and you can’t come away from a conversation with her without feeling lifted up and encouraged in some way. She is such a clear example of how to be during trying times. While difficult stages of life are really all encompassing, we do need to keep our eyes open to the needs and struggles of those around us. It’s not right for us to tune out other people’s needs and to solely focus on our situations. We are made to love like Christ, we are required to love our neighbours. Going through difficult times does not mean that we stop doing that. We can still love others through our pain, hurt and struggles, in fact sometimes in reaching out to others, it’s a form of therapy. It is all so very connected.
Let me not be so overwhelmed and consumed by my own particular situation that I fail to care for and love and listen to the other people God has placed in my life.