I’m composing this on my iPod as I sit at my mother-in-law’s kitchen bench. We needed to have time here because Great Grandma’s health is declining. Life keeps speeding by and we haven’t been able to visit at all this year. My hubby looked for a weekend where his work and church schedule allowed him to be gone. The plan was to leave Friday morning.
Cut to Friday afternoon. Hubby still at work and packing not started. It was a rare sunny day and we were outside carpe-ing the diem.
Cut to 10.40pm last night. Our toddler had been awake and crying most of the 3.5 hour drive.
Cut to 3am this morning. Our toddler was still awake and screaming.
Cut to 6.30am this morning. The birds were chirping a sweet song. Their joy was offensive to me.
Cut to 11am. He’s finally napping. The screaming has stopped. I’m on the couch looking at some oh-so-cheery flowers and writing to you. The flowers are a little too cheery.
When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow. (Romans 12:15)
Here’s my next thought about the devaluing of / cultural restrictions on the “Mother’s heart“: Since when is my sadness more important another person’s (or chirpy bird’s) happiness?
I’m feeling aware that I give room and support to people who are in sorrow above giving room and support to those who are in joy.
Example: I’m having a great day but you’re having a crappy one. It seems it is socially expected that I dull down my joy out of respect to your bad mood. But not vice versa?
More important example: One of my dearest friends had a miscarriage when my daughter was a new-born. We had dreamed of our kids playing together. But her sweet baby had gone to live with Jesus. Clearly, in that moment, her grief was more important than my joy. I put aside my joy and brought my heart to support her.
But I went a step further: I felt tinges of guilt about the aliveness of my baby. Why did my baby live? It wasn’t fair. I didn’t know how to share her sorrow and still love my joy.
Thank God for my amazing friend. She was the one who showed me how to live out Romans 12:15. When I asked her what I could do to support her, she asked if she could hold my baby. It’s the opposite of what I thought she would want.
She held my little daughter and cried. She touched her toes and smiled. She smelled her sweet baby skin and loved every moment. In her deepest grief, she celebrated the wonderful joy in my life.
This was so healing for me. Funny, right? I didn’t realize I needed healing. It turns out that each of us needed the emotions of the other’s journey. Oh. Do you feel the power of that?
Simultaneously… When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow. (Romans 12:15)
I think this is a very important function of a “Mother’s heart”: The power of the interchange of our emotions. Protecting sad people from happiness is not a gift. Suppressing happiness ends up robbing the lives of those around us.
Being mad at the chirpy birds this morning did not help me. Misery loves company… but healing comes when we allow each others’ journeys to touch our hearts.
This “Mother’s heart” is going to try to do this better. I’m a bit edgy today from no sleep. Father God, open my eyes and heart to share life today.
I’m very aware that I’ve approached this from one side of the issue. We could have talked about all the times when grieving people are told to “buck up” and get on with life because happy people don’t want to be pulled down by the sadness anymore. This issue totally goes both ways. Sometimes being positive is way more socially acceptable and supported. There are a lot of grieving people who are having to suppress their grief. Right?! All because we think it’s the right and mature thing to do. Yikes.
I have more thoughts about this… like what is the reason why we “like” to dwell in our emotions and not get support by others? But that’s for another day’s bloggings… 😉
What do you think? Have you seen this in your own life? Are you better at sharing sorrow than sharing joy? Are you suppressing joy? Are you suppressing grief?