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17 August 2012

It has been a stressful couple of days

It rained cats and dogs Sunday afternoon.  Still it cleared by the time we planned the barbeque, and a few people showed up.  I was disappointed we didn't have more, but thankful that people did come.  :)

Something happened this week. It has the potential for changing my entire world, and yet it is something rather stupid and not very interesting and will not matter at all in 100 years, or probably even in one year.

I'm not free to give the details, and indeed, they are mundane. Still, this issue is of immense importance to me.

But it has already changed my life in the way i look at things, and i hope this change is permanent.

I need to listen to and hear people better, with more love, and without an agenda.

This stupid issue is very important to me, and i spent much of Wednesday crying.   Most of the people who were trying to comfort me kept trying to tell me that the issue is not very important and that it won't effect me enough to matter.  And in doing so, they were telling me (without realizing the impact of their words) that I'M not very important and that my feelings don't really matter much, anyway.

The reality is that it is important to me, and i already know how much it will effect me, and it isn't a small impact.  But the people telling me these things don't see thru my eyes or think with my brain, and so don't really know - what i DO know - that it WILL have a major influence on how i see myself and the people around me.  For such a stupid issue, the ramifications are enormous.

In frustration, i posted at FB:  "So, how do you change your attitude when things in your life feel completely out of your own control? I've read quite a bit about positive attitude, but right now my attitude totally sucks."   I know i really should have kept my mouth shut.

People said very supportive and helpful things.

Someone later (at a group) said to me, "I don't know what the issue for you is, but i wanted to tell you, it just isn't that bad.  It can't be, compared to what happened to my friend.  Someone broke into her house, shot her dogs and her husband, and they died.  The guy is still at large.  So, whatever you've got going on, it just isn't that bad."  (Yes, this is nearly verbatim what she said.)

And she is RIGHT.  What i have going on isn't that bad.  But you know what?  Her telling me that did not in any way make me feel better.  I ache for her friend.  That is bad luck/bad karma/bad everything in the extreme.  That is horrible.  However, my situation hasn't changed.  I know that my issue is not that bad.  It still is very important to me, and hearing about someone else's horrific tragedy does not in any way help me to resolve this issue.  And more, i feel that the person saying this (who meant well, i know) was just another person who said, "You and your issue just aren't that important."

I had the blessing of spending a couple of hours with a dear friend that afternoon.  His mother has cancer and he has been watching her die by inches for years now.  The doctors have just told her "There is no more we can do for you," and his step-dad is in hospital having just had heart surgery.  My friend is stressed in the extreme.  And that did immediately put some perspective on my issue - but he did not tell me that my (stupid) problem "just isn't that bad."  In fact, he said, "It is important to you.  If my mother was sitting here right now, she'd tell you that because it is important to you it does matter."  My friend listened and heard me.  I hope i did the same for him.

And then my poor, dear husband spent hours discussing it with me, and all the implications of where this will lead.  Discussing it in some ways didn't help a lot.  I was pretty exhausted by it all, and also felt there is essentially no hope that this will be resolved in a manner i will see as positive.  My friend and my husband listened to me, and let me feel that i am important and my feelings do matter, even for a reason that isn't, of itself, very important.  They didn't try to tell my why i shouldn't feel the way i do, or how it isn't significant, and how i should just suck it up and deal.  They listened and empathized.

I do try to be careful what i say to people when they are hurt.  I've already had too many people in my life tell me things in their attempt to "comfort."  I've been told that God probably knew that i won't be a good mama, and that's why God never gave us children.  Or, i've been told by people (who don't know my life or story) that i must not want children all that badly, because we could always "just adopt."  (Using the word "just" in almost any context seems to always result in belittling someone's feelings.)  Or that i struggle with energy and functioning because i don't pray and read the scriptures enough.  I could go on and on.

People are not very comfortable with grief or loss in our culture.  Saying, "I am so very sorry" just doesn't seem like enough.  So people tend to tack on other things, and that is almost always a mistake.

So, again i say:  I need to listen to and hear people better, with more love, and without an agenda.

I hope this is a lesson that sticks.



Mali said...

Kathryn, I'm so sorry I missed your post. I totally agree with your post. That words meant to be comforting, are usually really only comforting for the people saying them. They feel better, but we don't usually. As you say, if only we all knew to say "I'm so sorry" adding "Is there anything I can do?" if we feel the need to add something. Otherwise just LISTENING! I get so annoyed when people try to belittle our feelings by telling us it's not important. They're saying "what you feel is wrong" or "what you feel doesn't matter" rather than just letting us feel.

So I'm hoping by now you're feeling better, and the issue is perhaps resolved. But if it isn't, then just take care of yourself.

Kathi said...

I once heard Dr. Laura say, "We all have our boulders to push." She was referring to the boulder as a problem. And, while your boulder may not look like mine, it's still your boulder to push.

That one statement totally changed the way that I respond to people when they state their problems. It's a problem very real to them regardless of what I think.

The latest sarcastic response to a problem that I've heard is, "That's a first world problem." Meaning that in retrospect to the rest of the world, the things we deal with in the U.S. are insignificant. There is some truth to that. I think that traveling outside of our bubble helps us to see what others struggle with. However, I do find that statement a little demeaning because I don't think that we should negate a problem that someone may be dealing with.

So, for you, I wish you the best as you work through the issue that you are dealing with. May you come to a conclusion that works best for you and whomever else it affects.

Linda said...

Hi Kathryn....I saw your comment this morning and so I thought I would hop on over for a visit to your blog.

Gosh I'm sorry that you are feeling down, (when you wrote this post in August), I pray things are better for you now. That stinks that people say such crazy things when they are trying to encourage people huh?

I know that most of the time people mean well...and yet, I agree with you, that they should listen, and care, and simply say "I'm so sorry"...and offer a hug,...that would be much better than adding on all of the other junk, that we humans come up with!

I know that in the tragedies and sorrows of my life, some people have been so wonderful...but others have said very hurtful things, so, I can understand why you were hurt.

As I said, I hope things are better for you now. Here's a virtual ((hug)). But better than that, I want to just say, that Jesus cares...I know that, and I am saying a prayer for you right now.

Ok Kathryn, I have blanketed you in prayer this morning, and I pray you will have a lovely day, and a nice weekend. <3

Thanks for the sweet comment on Jared's 22nd birthday. We will celebrate with a party for his in a couple of weeks with his mom's and his dad's, along with one of his younger cousins, Adelynn Rose, who is turning 13. (:>)

By the way, I am sorry it was rainy when you had your BBQ. That stinks! But it sounds like some people did I hope you had fun with them, and that you enjoyed the food!

I used to always say this when my kids were little:
"If you clean house, nobody comes over, but if you don't, you're sure to have company! If you cook nobody is very hungry, and if you don't cook, everybody is starved! Ha" Isn't that how it goes sometimes?!!!

Sending love to you today Kathryn on the mountain! (I think Big Bear would be a wonderful place to live!) I have been there a couple of times years, and years, ago. And it was sure beautiful. (:>)

God Bless You!

Kathryn said...

Thank you all for posting. I appreciate your words so very much!

I've been distracted the past 8 weeks or so and didn't even see that there were comments caught in moderation. Please forgive me for leaving them in limbo so long, because i do love that you took the time to write.