I was sitting in a local coffee shop and I accidentally overheard a girl at the table next to me talking to a friend about how another friend had tried to compare their hurts and put them on a level playing field. Coffee shop girl was mad because how dare friend X say her hurt was just as bad. They weren’t even close. *insert eye roll and judgement*
I’m not going to lie, I had a moment of wanting to be that crazy old(er) lady who marched over to the table and gave a little speech on hurt and how everyone’s is a big deal to them and how dare we dismiss what may seem like a major to our friend just because it seems like a minor to us.
I didn’t. Because I’m not THAT crazy. (hush) But I haven’t been able to shake the thought ever since.
Actually, it’s been even more than that. It’s been tumbling around in my brain multiple times a day. I’ve started writing blog posts about it in my head a million times. I wake up in the night thinking about it.
I wasn’t sure why it bothered me so much. It was a strangers conversation that I wasn’t even supposed to be privy to. Why was I letting it get to me?
Well, the truth of it is, I’ve had a bit of a rough couple weeks myself. I haven’t shared it on here because some things that are going on aren’t my story to share but rather things I’m just walking alongside. Some probably feeling overwhelming in this moment but next will be gone. Some have no conclusive answers just yet and so I don’t want to jump the gun on what might be nothing.
But when I awoke last night I was hit with, what I think, is the real answer.
The reason I’m not sharing is because what if people think my hurt isn’t as bad as their hurt? What if I speak the words and then they say something like, “Oh, that’s all?” Or what if they start comparing it to their hurt or someone they know’s hurt and what if they try and diminish it with a pithy, “It could be so much worse.”
I’m willing to accept that all of those could happen. I’m willing to agree that there is a lot more going on in the world just now that is more tragic than my hurt. I’m willing to admit the phrase, “At least noone’s dying!” But the thing is, none of those ease the pain. My pain. Because it’s mine. And you don’t know what it feels like as I can’t know exactly what yours feels like but I do know that whatever it is you’re feeling, it’s real, man. Because mine is real. Even though no one is dying.
There’s so much talk these days about stopping the mommy wars and I’d like to up the anti to the stopping of all the wars. Let’s stop the my-hurt-is-greater-than-your-hurt wars and the my-calling-is-greater-than-your calling wars and the honest to goodness real life WARS!
Of course, as long as human are humans and we’re operating in this world with hearts that are prone to selfishness, none of the above will happen. As long as we have minds that feel like our ways are right and our opinions THE way, there can’t ever be peace in any of it.
But I want to propose just one little facet that I want us to change.
Can we let people’s hurt be their hurt?
That’s all. Just let them feel it. Let them know that we get that it’s hard. Allow them to hear us say that we can only imagine what it must feel like. That we don’t understand but we can see that it hurts and we’re so sorry.
Can we let them know that the pain that they’re experiencing just now is real and true and hard. Really, really hard. Can we skip comparing it to something that we think is harder? Or explaining alongside of their hurt all of the other things in the world that are causing hurt?
Because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that my hurt doesn’t feel less just cause someone tells me that someone else is hurting more.
Can we agree that there is no hurt-o-meter we can hook up to that will show us exactly where our hurt ranks on the charts? There is no tear counter that can tell us just how many drops have fallen down our face and considering that person over there had more, just ease up a little bit, would ya?
There are a million things that people are going through right now. There are diseases that are deadly and some that are debilitating and some that will go away but we just don’t know when. There are little eyes watching their parents fight and hearts that are wondering if it is all their fault. There are jobs lost and homes foreclosed upon and family members who haven’t spoken to each other in a very long time. There are people harming people, not just across the globe but in our neighbours houses. Harming with their words and their hands and with the choices they’re making in their life. There are children who don’t know love and seniors who’s families are too busy to stop by for a visit. There is bullying and gossip and someone made to feel like they don’t fit in or they aren’t enough and they’ll never be just the right size. There are spouses who break vows and find pleasure in another, there are cars slamming into one another exactly right now and there are people sitting next to hospital beds talking softly to their loved one not knowing if they can even hear.
R.E.M. hit the nail on the head when they sang the lyrics that everybody hurts…..sometimes.
Don’t tell me that each person in these situations isn’t hurting their greatest hurt and doesn’t feel the maximum amount of pain. Don’t tell me that one isn’t as big of a deal than another, that one shouldn’t be making such a big deal of it, that maybe they should look at what’s going on over THERE and then they’d see they really don’t have it that bad.
Hurt is not quantifiable. It can’t be measured and how dare we. How dare we.
We’re never told in scripture to make someone feel better by diminishing their hurt. We’re never told to show them something worse so they can chin up. It’s never said that one persons circumstantial pain is greater than anothers.
No, we’re told to love and to do it well and to give it all our hearts. (Mark 12:31) We’re told to weep alongside the weeping. (Romans 12:15) We’re told that we are not to measure ourselves by one another. (2 Corinthians 10:12)
Whatever hurt people are walking in just now is quite possibly their biggest hurt and yours is quite possibly your biggest hurt. The situations do not determine the level! Rather, the hurt each one is feeling is the only indicator of how we are to behave towards one another.
Let it be for them as bad as it is without comments or comparison. Simply wrap your arms of love around them and make sure they know that from you there is nothing but compassion, nothing but understanding, nothing but acceptance of all the feelings.
To each one it is that bad. And yours may come one day too. I guarantee that, “Oh that’s all?! Well, so and so is going through so much more…” are not the words you’ll want to hear.
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