Others Might Have It Worse (and I Don’t Care)

I have been comforting some friends lately and even myself. And I keep hearing a refrain, “At least you’re not…”

“Think of all those suffering so much worse than you…”

“Sounds like a first world problem to me…”

“Be grateful that it’s not…”

Here’s the thing. Someone is always going to have it worse (and some will always have it better, but that will be another post).

For whatever reason, I do not live in the Ukraine. I was not born into a tribe of cannibals. Or a famine-stricken region of Africa. I am not the parent of a child with a terminal illness. I am not in an abusive marriage.

The list could go on.

But.

I hurt. I worry. I am afraid. I have hard things happen.

And so do friends and family members of mine. I had one person crying-CRYING- because she felt guilty since so many others have it worse.

Our life and its blessings and its struggles is singularly ours. How we feel is singularly our experience. Another person could have it the exact same as us and respond entirely different.

And while I may even think you are wrong for how you are responding, I absolutely believe in your right to feel your own feelings your own way.

I think it is mean and plain unhelpful to respond to someone hurting with a shaming statement of comparison.

Comparison is something I find useful for selecting produce, not providing comfort or inspiring change.

Feel. Just feel it. It is a feeling and can change. Frequently. Usually, my feelings just need release. And once that first wave passes, relief, comfort and perhaps even a solution or two present themselves. But judgement and guilt for having the feeling is not going to help.

I know others have it worse. I know it. I pray, I help. I do what I can.

But when it is my turn to be “worse” or yours, let’s focus on comfort. Not comparisons.

Posted in Life Lessons | 1 Comment

Easter’s Icky Parts

Happy Easter.

As a Christian, I get the feeling I’m supposed to denounce the bunnies, baskets and eggs. But I can’t. I love dyeing eggs. I have three bunnies as pets. And I don’t snub my nose at anything containing chocolate. I am a bit iffy on jelly beans.

But I’m fine with those cute images of bunnies, baskets, colored eggs. I like the new dress and lilies too.

I have struggled with the cross.

And then there’s this 3 day span of Jesus being tortured, crucified and put in a tomb. And the resurrection part is good, but still. I can’t look at the cross and not think about the other parts. The icky parts.

It just always had me kind of bewildered.  I found it weird that we have Sunday with new dresses, and lots more singing, and all the flippin’ JOY of Easter when it is has all this gruesome backstory.

My favorite service during this time is Maundy Thursday. Even if you don’t ascribe to a denomination that offers a Maundy Thursday service, I would go.

Talk about morbid and depressing. It’s fabulous. It’s really what helped me GET Easter Sunday.

The very darkness of that service.  Entirely different than anything else happening in church the rest of the year.

The absence of light and sound and beauty.

Absence.

I know that life. My life without faith in a Good God. And it is dark and silent. Beauty removed or certainly draped in black.

There is an absence that can’t be accounted for and yet gnawed.

And I know life with faith. That rushing fullness and light. So much Light. At my darkest, when the Light rushed in, the air rippled with it.

And that Light, coming in after darkness is just so much brighter. The absence is over.

It is not the celebration of the resurrection that causes my Easter Joy, it is the relief- the sheer relief- that the darkness and silence ends. The void filled.

Only the tomb was left empty.

Not the world.

Not me.

And that’s how I get Easter.

Why I get it.

Why I love it.

 

 

 

Now, where’s my chocolate bunny?

 

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What If This Is As Good As It Gets?

Did you see that movie?

I think that person in the waiting room who kind of moans when Jack Nicholson delivers the line, “What if this is as good as it gets?” deserves an Oscar.

And I have days where that question would evoke a similar sound. A sort of guttural reaction to the horror of being THERE. DONE. THIS IS IT.

And I don’t mean that in a good way.

But, today I was thinking What If This Is As Good As It Gets?

This came from some angst I was sharing with DH last night about my career and our home. It is on the tails of the house we were going to buy falling through. And while I did handle it better than I could have, when that news rolled up into some other news, I was pretty deflated. I asked DH, “What am I supposed to be doing with my life?”

And he said, “Maybe you’re doing it.”

And this morning, I continued to think about that. What if this is it?

The house we live in: It provides shelter, lovely views of the redwoods in the front yard, and is not without its charms. I lived in basically a woodshed in Costa Rica (bats flew through and I won’t even start on the bugs). Yes, I want a different house, but you know, this is pretty good.

My career: I have done some cool stuff in my professional career. I’m not going to list my resume, but really, good stuff that made a difference in people’s lives and, at least some of the time, way fun. Right now, my job is to raise Little Sir and write.  Little Sir is fabulous. I know all Mothers say that, but I am not making that up. He really is. When I sit down to write, I can feel everything in me zero in to make that story come out.  If this is it, and for today it is, well, okay.

Our family life: this rolls into DH, the house, the other kids, extended family, the pets, all the rest of it. And if how it is now, is how it is. It’s a lot and busy and tiring and we don’t have enough time and I’d like more money too and I wish the older kids were closer and … I’m a planner, a goal setter.

And probably always will be. But even I can recognize that if this is as good as it gets? That is pretty damn good.

 

Posted in Life Lessons, My Life | 1 Comment