Saturday, January 29, 2011

Salt in Wounds

"Singing light songs to the heavyhearted
   is like pouring salt in their wounds."
Prov. 25:20

This verse is true, whether I like it or not.  When I'm feeling down, I don't want to hear someone else's good news.  I wish I were more mature and could genuinely be instantly happy for someone.  The truth is, I can usually convince myself (after feeling sorry for myself for a bit) to be happy for the person, but it certainly doesn't come naturally.  The natural thought is much uglier.

I'll give you an example.  Several years ago, I broke up with a boy I thought I was going to marry.  (Sidenote: I am so thankful I didn't marry this boy, because he was not nearly as perfect for me as Samuel is.)  However, it was still pretty painful.  It was a Saturday.  The following Wednesday, one of my good friends got engaged.  The Saturday after that, another good friend got engaged.  That Tuesday, another friend got engaged.  By the time my fourth friend came in to show me her ring on Sunday, I was spent.  Literally four of my friends got engaged in the two weeks following my very painful breakup.  I'm not talking about acquaintances either.  These were very close friends, so close that I was a bridesmaid in two of the weddings.

It wasn't that I wasn't happy for them; I was.  So happy, especially because I'd been there when these girls had been hurt by other jerks who didn't deserve them.  It was so wonderful to see them finally having true love in their lives.  But with the pain I was going through, it was really hard to separate myself from their news and not think about how I thought I was going to be the one getting engaged, not breaking up. 

Looking back, this experience is pretty funny and rather unlikely - something that would only happen to me.  I've found that I can always look back and laugh and appreciate the irony...after the fact.  (It also helps that I'm incredibly in love with my own husband now.)  But in the midst of it all, I felt pretty low. 

I'd love to get to the place where I can immediately forget about my own troubles and focus completely on my friend who is sharing wonderful news with me.  I don't want to go through that time of feeling sorry for myself and resentment toward my friend who seems to be having life handed to her on a silver platter.  It's true - there are those people who seem to have everything going for them, whose biggest hardship in life is deciding if they should go to Maui or Oahu.  Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, but sometimes I feel like Chandler in a Friends episode, when Ross' problem seems like a great problem to have. "Oh, I know. This must be so hard. 'Oh, no! Two women love me. They're both gorgeous and sexy. My wallet's too small for my fifties, and my diamond shoes are too tight!'"  But even during those times, and with those people, I want to celebrate with them and join them in praising God for blessings.  Focusing on my own hurts just seems selfish.

On the other hand, I also do not want to be the one who sings light songs to my heavyhearted friends.  I know I've been in that position before, when my situation is particularly sunny and my friend's is not.  I want to be sensitive, caring, and compassionate, remembering how it feels to be the one going through the storm.  I don't want to be so caught up in my own life that I ignore their needs or hurts.

All this is to say that I have a lot still to learn and a lot of room for growth.  Maybe you can relate, maybe not.  Either way, I want to "rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep."  (Romans 12:15)  Someday, by God's grace, I'll have it figured out.

1 comment:

  1. Only by God's grace. We've all been there and there will be so many more of these times in our lives. I was one of those friends that got engaged and I think the reason I was so set on going in to see you at Starbucks was because I knew your hurt and I didn't want it to just be a phone call from me sharing my good news...but I wanted to also be there for you in a weird sense. I know it sounds odd...but it was so important for me to tell you in person. I wanted you to share in my joy, while I also knew it was not an easy thing for you to do at the time. I think being aware of this in our lives is so wise and I appreciate your honesty and humility in this post. I would never want you to keep a joy from me because I'm going through a low season in life, or keep sadness or hurt from me because I'm going through a high season in life. Every detail and stage of life is subjective and that's just life. The best thing you could give me at any time is honesty, because I know that's real and that's what I love most about you - you are real. You are so good to have in my life good.


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