Wednesday, July 30, 2014

May we all speak kind words

So the other day I was checking out a Facebook group I am part of and a mom posted a picture of her daughter's artwork in her new planner. Her daughter had climbed up on a chair and with a crayon proceeded to color all over one of the pages of her planner. The mom posted about her frustration and then moved on from it. Whoo buddy were there some super mean and unnecessary comments about how this mom should be grateful her daughter was even alive to color in her new planner because some parents didn't even have their children to color on their things anymore and that she should really learn to get a grip because she was going to have other things ruined by her. I mean seriously people, they got real mean. And here this poor mom was just having all this hate spilled on her by complete strangers!

It got me thinking though how often people tell other people they need to stifle their feelings because someone else might have it worse than them. I mean really, there is always someone who is going through some worse, but since when does that negate someone else's feelings? I'm always flabbergasted by those who think someone else isn't allowed to have their feelings or that their feelings are somehow more important than another person's feelings. I'm not quite sure how you justify those reasons or those thoughts. We all face our own difficulties in life. Unfortunately it is a fact of life that we face trials and tribulations, but do we have to make them harder for someone by telling them they shouldn't have those feelings because someone else has it harder so they should suck it up and deal with their first world problems. Sure they might be "first world" problems (we'll leave my thoughts and opinions about those who use this in all sincerity for another post), but they are the challenges the particular person is experiencing them and surely doesn't need friends, family, loved ones, and complete strangers telling them they need to get over their problems because someone in another part of the world has it harder than them. Is there ever a point where you can no longer tell someone they need to get over it because there is no one else who has it worse than them? Most likely not.

As a Latter-Day Saint (Mormon) we believe these trials and tribulations are given to us as a means of bringing about our own refining and perfection. My favorite promise is found in Matthew 11: 28-30. The Savior promises to us that we can all find rest in him. We can all access that comfort and peace, not someone who's burdens are heavier than another, the promise is given to us all. How amazing is that? The Savior puts no qualifications on finding peace, he's offered it up to us all. Why then can we not offer up this same peace and comfort to our fellow human beings? Why do we always have to cut through someone's trials with our comments that it could be worse?

One of my favorite speakers has always been Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. I love listening to his words of comfort and peace. He gave an absolutely incredible talk last October called Like a Broken Vessel in which he spoke about the challenges we face in life and how sometimes those challenges make us feel like the broken vessels mentioned in Psalms. My favorite part of his talk is towards the end where he says "Though we may feel we are “like a broken vessel,” as the Psalmist says, we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter. Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed. While God is at work making those repairs, the rest of us can help by being merciful, nonjudgmental, and kind."  Oh how that blessing is comforting, but also how much is that reminder needed of being merciful, nonjudgmental, and kind?! I taught my primary children about being kind this week and must say I learned far more than them during this process. To them kindness is simple and easy, we adults can sure screw up the ideas of kindness.

We all struggle at times in our lives. I've been pretty open about the struggles with still being unemployed and the frustrations it has caused in our lives. I also won't lie and say it is easy being single in a faith where a huge emphasis (and rightly so) is placed on the family and being in an eternal marriage. It is not always easy consistently year in and year out being the single one and having well meaning others tell me they just don't know why I haven't been snatched up yet and I'm such a great catch. Well duh! I know that! But it doesn't make it better when I hear these words or hear other words of "comfort" which never really amount to comfort, but instead leave indelible marks of pain I've gotten very good at hiding.  I've tried my hardest to be strong and faithful and keep swimming as Dori taught us. It's not a fake it until you make it kind of thing though, I'm a generally happier now that I'm not where I was six months ago. But the path getting to the happier place was not sunshine and roses and the path before me is definitely not full of sunshine and roses either. However, I am still on the path and I'm still moving forward because for me there is no other option. What makes the path easier to bear is knowing I have family and friends who are willing to help make the burden lighter as Elder Holland encouraged us and as the Savior taught us on countless occasions.