Last weekend I had an opportunity to give a little advice on the art of speaking with someone who is struggling. It was mere hours after I posted about the delicate dance of letting someone know how much you care about them, and trying to 'fix' their problems.
I stressed to this person that while it is certainly important to acknowledge the hurt and suffering the other person is feeling, it is also important to just meet them there without trying to make it better. Especially when the pain is fresh.
I know there are comments that have been made to me that I will likely NEVER forget. They came in hard moments and were from people who I'd never expect to say them, but they did. I hate that for the most part they likely were not at all meant to hurt, but no matter their intent, they hurt and are forever stamped on my heart. I've forgiven these people for the hurt, but I think it is important for me to remember these hurts in an effort to not do the same to someone else.
I share this all, because I think we are all quick to want to say the right thing. As I listened to this person make a phone call to the person who was struggling I felt like she did an amazing job of meeting the struggling person in the hurt, until the end of the call. She said something that I don't think I'll ever forget. She didn't mean it the way it sounded, and thankfully the person on the other end of the line totally called her on it, but it drives home the point- don't assume you know what to say. Don't assume that the flowery, rainbows and unicorns sentiments are helpful or hopeful. This simply isn't true. Sometimes a person finds themselves in an extremely painful and helpless situation- one in which there is a very slim chance things will turn out OK. And in those moments, sorry is really the only appropriate thing to say.
Though I hurt for the person on the other end of the phone that evening, I also took something away from that horribly placed comment. As I sat thinking about what she could have or should have said, I made a realization of my own. Though the hand I've been dealt has not always been fun or easy, it is mine. This is my life and while it isn't perfect, it IS mine. Just like that baby that hurting mama is carrying is HERS. A baby that will endure surgery upon surgery, and potentially eventually need an organ transplant. And, while she may not be 'perfect' in health, she WILL be perfectly theirs.