“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I was talking with a few friends the other day and the discussion got heated when no one could agree on who had the worst birth order placement. It seems like a silly thing to argue about but try saying it to a group of friends and watch he discussion fly. I have thought about it quite a bit and I don’t like any of the negatives that go along with any of the positions. When I was done recalling everyone’s complaints I realized we were just talking about life.Like people tell you when you are young, “You have to put up with it because things happen in life that you must deal with it.” Nobody likes to listen to that speech. It does resonate back to us when life throws difficult pitches our way. It is not easy to say if you are the oldest or youngest this is the way it is. One must think about the sexes, background of the mothers and fathers and number of kids in a family as well as the economics of it all. I believe nobody gets away scott free and once you accept that you can stop comparing. Have you ever heard people comparing who had the more aches, pains or health issues to deal with? I know some peoples’ complaints are worse than others but there are emotional problems, mental health problems and spiritual issues tied into it all.
Some people are distraught their whole life worrying about what they “”Must” do for somebody. Does that make them less caring because they are not doing something out of love but duty? How about those who feel obligated or who want something in return? The list is long and complicated and so is the birth order. I don’t really care so much about the order of birth because it seems like everyone takes the “crap” in life. It is unavoidable. It is more important to figure out how they will deal with the crap. In a way it is our attitude regardless of how much pain and hurt we must endured. Having taught school I know the child in the classroom who cries a lot gets a lot of attention. Does this mean they have suffered more? Is there another child who has been suffering but we overlooked them?
That is one reason why the situation gets complicated when we are trying to figure out or compare anxieties fear or problems. We come from different places and homes and had a variety of personalities to cope with along the way. I am thinking we might believe others have no care because they appear to not notice our suffering or they don’t appear to have any. Does anyone recall saying, “I don’t know what they are complaining about because when I…? We measure our pain against others all the time. It doesn’t alleviate it but it increases the friction we have with friends and family.
Perhaps we should begin understanding where the pain originates and why it won’t let us go. There is absolutely deep suffering that will stay inside of us forever but it does not help anyone to believe they are the martyrs of the world even if they have the suffering of such a person. Viewing ourselves as a victim implies we are helpless and have given up. Nobody has the power to make us feel that way and we should not see ourselves as the sacrifice. When we do deem our pain is beyond the measurement of anyone else’s we lock ourselves in a cage and throw away the key.
On any given day there is much to cope with. Everyone has those moments in time that stay within the brain forever. The fearful moments scare us and make us want to run away no matter what the age. The crises we got through makes us proud of ourselves but sometimes less sympathetic because we may be of the opinion that no one else has suffered like us especially if they haven’t complained. I am not down on the complainers. Sometimes I think it is therapeutic to get things off of your mind. When people hold things in they tend to resent others who can’t imagine their suffering.
I don’t know about how other people believe but in the end I think we alienate a lot of people when we expect but don’t allow someone in. It appears to work against us and we end up jealous of their “Better Life” or we carry the pain inside and let it hurt us over again and resent people who can’t see it even when we don’t let them observe it. I have turned my suffering inside and felt worse when no one appeared to understand. My belief was how can they not get it. Now I try to share more or at least not find fault with those who simply don’t know when I don’t share.
Life is not easy and that is an understatement. Life is more difficult if we compare our section of the world with other peoples’. We are putting up fences and keeping people out. It is better to take the fences down and let people in. I have found out that so many others have their own stories. It is kind to share in a positive way without the competition of having a winner. If we think we are worse off we send out no understanding or empathy to others. Instead we expect or feel entitled to be down in the dumps. Personally there are likely many days we might feel sad or even hopeless. We are asked to be stronger at that point than we were when we endured a heartache situation. It is at those moments we need to find the courage to get over the deep emotional feelings creeping in and overpowering us. We are almost forcing ourselves to relive the horrible time all over again.
If we can come to terms with the fact that we all suffer then maybe we can stop comparing and judging and learn to support each other any day we are in need. It take away all of the conditional aspects of love and allows unconditional love to reign. Unconditional love says I love you no matter how you behave towards me and I forgive you for everything. It says I may not like what you do nor understand how you feel but I trust the reality of your situation and want only love and peace in your heart and mine.
I know unconditional love is about as close as any of us can get to being more Godlike. Life is burdensome enough without worrying about the amount of good or bad in anyone’s life. Trust that we all suffer at times but we all have so much to be grateful for if we would check it out. What I like and you like may differ. What I consider pain or frustration may also differ. May we all live in peace and as a song says, “Love the one’s you are with.”
“The battle you are going through is not fueled by the words or actions of others; it is fueled by the mind that gives it importance.” Shannon L. Alder
“Fortunately, God made all varieties of people with a wide variety of interests and abilities. He has called people of every race and color who have been hurt by life in every manner imaginable. Even the scars of past abuse and injury can be the means of bringing healing to another. What wonderful opportunities to make disciples!” Charles R. Swindoll
“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.” Charles Dickens
“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