Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Why the criticism?
Something I have really noticed going on around me lately is the overwhelming amount of compassion and acceptance people have shown to me. If I come to a play date in sweats and no makeup, it's okay because I'm grieving. If I came in a cute outfit and makeup on then it would sound like, "good for Christy, she is trying." If I wanted to lay in bed all day everyone would understand. If I needed to get out of the house because I couldn't stay here by myself, I am asked if I need a buddy to keep me company. It is pure love at its finest! I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by many people who want to lighten my load in whichever way I need it lightened. Without judgement, only compassion.
It got me thinking...why do we wait until we know what trial someone is going through and have deemed it difficult enough to warrant our compassion before we are willing to love and serve them? Why is it that we can't be kind and accepting without reservation? I am totally guilty of this, so I am not casting any stones here. I have passed judgement an embarrasing amount of times on friends, family and complete strangers. The rude guy at the drive-thru, the snarky lady at the grocery store, the couple who cut off my family in line at Disneyland, a family member who offended me and hurt my feelings. And I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this.
At any given stage in my life I have had some difficult things going on. As a teenager I was best friends with the most popular girl, a student body officer and had a great boyfriend...life seems wonderful right? Secretly I was desperately insecure, wanted so badly for everyone to like me and struggling in math (which I eventually failed and had to retake). As a newlywed, Bryan and I were on cloud nine. We were more in love than the loviest love birds, so in love I have to make up a word for it. But man finances were a struggle. We were both in college and working part time making $7/hour.
It was rough.
I am not sharing these embarrassingly personal situations with you because I think life is terrible all the time. I have had a wonderful life. But to show you that everyone, at any given time has something difficult going on. Nobody is exempt from this and there is always a hill we are trying to push our cart up.
Why do we feel the need to judge the way others climb that hill? Why can't we just walk it with them for a bit? Ask if I can carry your pack for half a mile? Can I help push that cart? Even on the so-called easy downhills, sometimes it's hard to keep our feet from coming out from under us or our cart from running away.
I have had anxiety and depression for years, but kept it wrapped up in a tight little package that very few people could see. Now everyone knows my trials and I am experiencing how wonderful support and people praying for me can be. And because my life is so public I have had about a dozen people send me private messages and tell me the unbearable trials they are very privately experiencing right now and how Jane's story has helped them. These are people who are perfectly packaged and seem like their life is a bowl of cherries. You just don't know what people are going through.
I have seen both sides, suffering silently and suffering with support. It has made me realize that everyone is struggling whether we know it or not. And everyone needs the compassion that I receive. It doesn't matter if you have lost a baby or a job or have claustrophobia or miss your family or have an eating disorder. It's all hard and we don't need to reserve our sympathy for the ones we think seem the hardest.
Hard is hard.
How about we not wait until they tell us their life story and deepest difficulties before being willing to step up and help. How about we stop criticizing others for their different religion, political or moral views? How about we just love them and ask them how their day is going with a smile?
Posted by Bryan and Christy Clark at 11:04 AM