Seeing others struggle and not being able to “fix” it is definitely a curse on me. It is bad enough when it is my own kids, and I figure it is all part of being a parent, a good parent. But I am also cursed with this affliction when it comes to friends, and in some instances, even acquaintances.
As with pretty much everything in life, things are much clearer when we are on the outside looking in and not living it out. I am sure that if I could have had an out-of-body experience and watched my life during my divorce, things would have gone differently. I would have known what to say, what not to say. I would have been bettered prepared all those times in court, I would have known exactly the right things to say to my kids as they hurt.
Well, that is not the case, and perhaps even if it was, it may not have changed the outcome.
So when we see friends hurting or struggling, should we try to make it stop? Or are those experiences meant to make us who we need to be?
It is undeniably true that unless you have lived the exact experience, you will never understand it.
And so I believe it is that very statement that keeps me from trying to “fix” things for those I love.
The statement that I hear most often that makes my blood boil is, “oh, you are so lucky to have time to yourself.” It seems innocent enough, but what they are referring to is that my daughter spends 50% of her time with her dad. That in no way, shape, or form is lucky, not for either one of us. And until you live my life of shared parenting, you will never understand, and please don’t pretend that you do.
So when I see a single friend struggling as to why she is still single, I know that I cannot understand fully because I am not single. And although I was single for the very same reason she is, I am not now, so I do not fit in her shoes of life.
But there are some instances where her shoes do fit, and those are the times I speak up the loudest. She knows I love her and only want the best for her, and she openly listens to what I may have to say, but only she can put it into practice.
Currently, my friend Karen has hit a proverbial nail on the head with “Why God, Why.” And my take from the outside looking in is totally different than her living it out, with a few similarities. I do agree that we get so busy within our lives that we forget to listen. This is true whether we are speaking with God or a friend (my brother-in-law is a perfect example of this. The entire time you are trying to tell him something he is talking over you with, “yeah, uh huh, I got it, yeah, uh huh, oh yeah….” When you are done, he hasn’t heard anything you have said, which is apparent later when he says you never told him, or he calls you to ask you to repeat what you were telling him).
Sometimes we are “too busy” to listen, or “too distracted” by life or others. Sometimes we don’t know how to be still and quiet, enabling ourselves to listen. Whatever the reason is, we are all guilty at one time or another, or even continually.
So are we not listening, or are we not liking what we are hearing? I am loving that Karen is changing her “why” to a “when.” And anyone who is a believer knows that it is never our timing, all things in God’s timing.
Now I am going to pick on Karen a little bit, because of my view from the outside…and of course, will not publish this without her blessing.
In this case, I have my own opinion (even though she hasn’t asked for it) of someone wanting something so much they get in their own way. I know that God loves Karen in a mighty way and that He wants her to be happy. I believe that Karen has her own vision of what that happiness is, and it is that vision that gets in the way of her “hearing.” And it is her desire to have it within her timing, which of course is not the same as God’s timing, that causes some of her pain. A movie pops into my head as I re-read this paragraph: “Under the Tuscan Sun.” The main character in the movie goes through some life changes and has a vision, hope, or plan for what she wants her life to be. Towards the end of the movie, she is saddened because she doesn’t have the life she wanted, or asked for. However, someone points out to her that she has exactly everything she wanted, only perhaps not in the exact way she had envisioned.
So do we need to ask differently for what we want? Or do we need to take a closer look at what we have to perhaps discover we already have what we asked for, it just looks different than we thought it would?