This post was originally published at The Glorious Table. I’m a little late getting this teaser up, but still wanted to share this message with you. Join me?
I sat at a table with two women. One of them mentioned how much my youngest daughter has grown over the past few months, how much she must have changed while my husband was away for his job. He was gone for four months.
“Yes,” I mused. “Yes. She changed a lot. Those were some of the hardest months of our lives.”
And they were. We were separated by thousand of miles and several time zones. I was parenting alone, more than 600 miles from family and friends, and working full time. My husband was in a foreign country, surrounded by strangers, doing a challenging job and working plenty of overtime. My daughters, ages four and one, missed their daddy. Our spirits were upheld by the slender threads of daily video chats and calls, and lots of texts. In the midst of it all, I endured a rather traumatic medical scare and a whole host of procedures as doctors sought a diagnosis (which turned out to be positive). It was a stressful, lonely time.
But when I said that, when I said, “Those were some of the hardest months of our lives,” one of the women I was sitting with turned to me with a big smile on her face and said, “Well, at least you didn’t have to deal with [insert tough situation of your choice here]. That would have been much harder.”
It took me a moment to analyze why her words stung. They made me feel like she was invalidating my experience, invalidating my pain. It wasn’t as bad as this or that. It wasn’t as hard as so-and-so’s situation. I didn’t have terminal cancer or an ailing parent with Alzheimer’s or a child with a crippling condition.
Making me feel invalidated was not, I’m certain, her intention. She may have been trying to show me the silver lining. She may have been trying to give me the glass half full view. It made me wonder how often I’ve done the same thing to a friend in pain, a friend who’s been through battle.
To read the rest, please pop on over to The Glorious Table . . .