When I was about 25 I remember a friend asked me, "what do you fear?" I thought a lot about that question and, at the time, I remember saying, "regret". That was it. I wasn't afraid of death or a number of things that fill my heart with fear today. At 25 I felt invincible, like the world was my oyster, and my adventures were just about to begin...and they did.
Eight years later I find my heart filled with fears I NEVER dreamed I would have. I fear I won't get married, have kids, get out of Grad School debt, own a house, etc. If I'm honest, some nights I lie awake paralyzed with these overwhelming fears that seem to choke my faith and hope.
I know that I'm blessed. I have so much good in my life that sometimes even that is frustrating. (Ha!) I find myself wrestling w/ God over how thankful I am for all my blessings but they aren't the ones I REALLY want. I know I sound ridiculous. I know I should be more grateful but that doesn't stop the aching.
And right then in that moment all I want or need is someone to sit with me in the pain. They don't need to solve the problems or give me the answers. They don't need to tell me it will be okay. They don't need to say anything. Just sit there and grieve with me. Acknowledge with me my loss. I am stronger with you next to me, sitting in my pain, than I am alone.
My parents have always been really good at this. Recently, I wrote my them an email expressing some of my pain and I love my dad's response. He said, "...knowing that God knows your dreams and hopes and righteous desires, and yet nothing has happened may even make it harder. Do you remember Orson F. Whitney’s famous quote about adversity?"
No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven. (Orson F. Whitney)
It seems to be the natural tendency to want to fix others when they are suffering. We have great difficulty seeing others in pain. We somehow feel safer, less vulnerable, if we can fix someone else's pain. However, loss, suffering, and pain, the deep aching of a soul, can not be fixed.
I would offer a different help. Those who are struggling or in pain long for hope and stillness. I don't want you to fix me b/c these are the moments that make me stronger. But, let me know you are there, cry with me, accept my loss with me, buoy my faith, and sew seeds of hope in my path.
If you sit with me in my pain, then when I am ready to rise, like a phoenix from the ashes, you will be the first person I will want next to me in my joy and triumph!