There is no footprint too small to leave an imprint on this world.

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?

15 comments:

  1. Amen! Christy, seriously, you are wise beyond your years. Thanks again for yet another beautiful and uplifting post; I needed this today.

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  2. Beautifully said. This is a constant thought on my mind. If only people knew what people were silently suffering, especially the ones that seem like they have it all together. When someone does come out and show their vulnerability there normally is no criticism (well very little if any) but for the most part there is a lot of love and support. Wish it wasn't so hard to be an open book but I think it would help if people did it more often!

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  3. Yes! I feel lately that I have not been good at this. Criticism comes too easily and compassion too late. Thanks for the reminder.

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  4. Dear Christy
    I am LDS and we lost our daughter in 2013 as well. I would love to connect with you.
    Laura Lane
    you can contact me through my book website
    www.twomothersoneprayer.com

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  5. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Marvin J. Ashton: If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care.

    Your post took me back to this. Great message. Thanks, Christy!

    https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1992/04/the-tongue-can-be-a-sharp-sword?lang=eng

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  6. A friend just shared this post on facebook and I have now read your whole blog, sobbing the entire time. My story came so close to being your story. I don't know why the endings were different. When my daughter had her accident, she was 13 months and 6 days -- almost exactly the age your daughter was at her passing. Your description of breastfeeding sounds like I could have written it. So similar in some ways, so different in others. Adah pulled a TV over on top of herself on March 12 of last year (the anniversary is the days after tomorrow). My husband and I have absolutely blamed ourselves. We thought it was secure but it wasn't and it nearly killed our daughter, while her brother watched. I wasn't fast enough. The kids and I were home alone. I did CPR (complete with screaming at her to breathe, though on my bed while I simultaneously called 911). I was sure she was gone, even when she started breathing again. She was life-flighted to a bigger hospital, and I was sure she would die in transit and I would never see her again. So many times, I thought it was the end. Somehow, she is still here. The effects are not gone: many of the injuries have healed, but she still needs a g-tube for thin liquids (not for all her food, anymore, but for all her fluids) and she has developed sleep apnea. But she turned two last month, and three weeks later we welcomed her new little sister. But we were so, so close to sharing your story. My heart aches for you. Oh, it aches. I don't understand completely, but a little. And my prayers will be with you and your family for a long, long time to come.

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  7. I read your blog through a friend who posted it on facebook. My husband and I lost a daughter to a heart condition called TOA or transposition of the great arteries. Reagan only lived for 3 1/2 hours. We as parents feel that we are not supposed to bury our children, but they are to bury us. When you bury a child, you become a member of a club you didn't request membership to. My husband and I were often told how special we must be to have had a perfect child that only needed to come to earth to get her body. Your daughter is very special and I am sure she just like our Reagan is a valiant spirit and Heavenly Father has more planned for her to do. Remind your other children as they grow up, they have a sister in heaven cheering them on. I am so grateful for my testimony and the plan of salvation and the comfort it gives me, to know that our lives go on after earthly life. I know that my husband and I will get to raise Reagan in the eternities, I know this because the spirit bore witness to me. Even though it has been 15 years for us, I still cry, missing her and wondering what she would be like. My prayers are with you and your family.

    Love to you all,
    Sister Vickie Westrup

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  8. I also found your blog through a post on facebook. I have no idea what you're going through...my eyes are filled with tears from reading your posts. I have four children and my youngest is 9 months. So many of my days are spend complaining about my baby's short naps, or my kids teasing, or my lack of time to do what I want to do. As I nursed my baby tonight I held him a little closer, rocked him a little longer. I am going to try extra hard to find joy in the little things, to complain less and to enjoy my life as a mother more. Thank you...I really needed to hear your story.

    You and your family will be in my prayers.

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  9. I'm Julie Kay from Spanish Fork, Utah. We had a similar experience as you and your husband did as well. It's almost as if I had written what had happened to you myself. My son Gunner was 10 weeks old when he passed. http://www.heraldextra.com/lifestyles/announcements/obituaries/gunner-grant-kay/article_2ddd6b3c-ae13-501b-9bfb-34211e26f9c5.html

    He had a vovulus malrotation that we didn't even know existed. I have something that I would love to e-mail to you that I have found to be of great comfort.. Please send me your e-mail me at jkay0507@yahoo.com. I know you will love it :)

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  11. Christy, misty eyes were certainly not on my agenda today, but I was more than overwhelmed with the level of compassion and wisdom in your post. You are so right. No one can judge another's difficulty; hard is hard. I find even more inspiring, coming from you, who has been through what many would consider to be the ultimate 'hard'. Thank you for touching my heart today Christy. You are the epitome of compassion. :-)

    Don Dubie, Jr.,
    formerly of the Essex Ward, Vermont

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  12. I love, LOVE this post. I, too, have suffered in silence and have suffered with support and I have decided suffering publicly with support is better. : ) Plus, I have seen how I can help others with similar problems. We are all going through something and we do need to be ever so kind to one another.

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  13. I am so very sorry for your loss- I can't even imagine... If you haven't heard of it, this is a great blog by a mom who also lost her little girl. She has been writing for so few years now about the grieving process: http://www.sullengers.com
    I hope you and your family can find as much peace as possible!

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  14. Your story is spreading- I also saw a post on facebook, came and read your whole blog, and cried. I want to thank you for sharing these posts with the world. Each post was touching. The quotes you shared from prophets and apostles are so powerful for those going through trials of any sort. Thank you for sharing your faith and your story- your courage, and wisdom. You are blessing many lives. And may you be blessed with the continued strength and hope you need each day. Your children are beautiful. May you be blessed and uplifted.

    In contrast- Last week I joined a facebook group about decluttering 40 bags in 40 days, and several people have posted about losing a child and the difficulty of dealing with the grief and the possessions of that child. They are longing for peace and understanding. The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings such a different perspective and peace to the situation, I'm so grateful you have that testimony and faith in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thanks again for your beautiful writing and sharing your experiences and insights.

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