It could be so much worse….

You should be happy that he’s verbal; it could be so much worse…..

The words stung as they hit my heart.  I had been sharing with a friend my frustration, weariness and grief dealing with my autistic son.  I was in need of some comfort and encouragement, instead, I was met with instructions to compare.

We are taught to compare.  We compare in order to make choices.  We compare prices to get the best deal. We compare different products to choose the one that works the best.  Comparing can be helpful when we need to make a choice, but now, comparing has somehow become a way we try to comfort one another.

It seems that the objective is to find some set of circumstances that is worse than the circumstances presented.  Upon finding said circumstances, we are to find ourselves instantly and magically feeling better about the difficult circumstances of our own lives.  How ridiculous!  Yet, we continue to do it.

We say it’s for perspective; things could be so much worse.  I’m all for keeping things in perspective and being thankful and content for what you have, but that doesn’t take away the pain or difficulty of any situation.  What it says to me is that my feelings aren’t valid.  That I’m wrong for feeling the way I do.  That I’m not thankful for what I have.   It’s not true, though.  I am thankful for what I have.  But life is hard.  There is pain and sorrow.  I get weary.

And all of this comparing leaves us separated from one another.  We don’t want to divulge our difficulties or hardships just to be told to be happy that things aren’t worse.  So we silently suffer by ourselves; not wanting to share our hearts.

And what about the person whose circumstances are worse?  Are they now supposed to find others in worse places?  What about those at the ‘bottom’?  What’s their solution?  Or does it become a case of sucks to be you?!

This comparison thing doesn’t offer any real solutions.  Even if thinking of worse circumstances makes you feel better, the relief is fleeting.  In a short period of time it goes away and you’re left with the hurt you began with.  There has got to be a better way.

What if we began to just listen?  What if we acknowledged the difficulties of life? What if friends began taking each other to God instead of other people?  What if we stopped comparing our circumstances with others’ and started comparing them to God; who He is, His power, His love?  Maybe we would reach out.  Maybe we would find comfort.  Maybe we would find encouragement.  Maybe we would find strength.  I think it’s worth a try…..





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