“It could be worse.”
I think every person on the planet has used this phrase at one time or another. It’s part of Parenting 101 to teach children perspective by asking them to see how much worse off other people are. I’m not knocking the teaching, I think it’s very true. Recognizing how blessed we are, especially in adversity, is a good thing.
But when I hear someone say these few words, it’s a cue for me to be a support.
One day, a friend confided that her life felt ‘out of control’. Every day was like ice skating season, and she couldn’t skate.
One of her children, who didn’t live with her, was giving her fits. He made some disastrous financial decisions that could have easily been avoided. Her husband was desperately unhappy at work, and repeatedly threatened to quit. It looked like her father-in-law was starting to forget things…more than the usual ‘oops’ stuff. And now, her doctor wanted to talk to her about some lab results. She couldn’t bring herself to call him back.
“I don’t know why it sees like everything is hitting me at once. I barely get a chance to digest one thing, when something else swoops in. I feel like I’m drowning… Well. I guess it could be worse.”
My heart just went out to her. Her stress-o-meter was off the charts. She was trying her best to cope, using that old phrase to help her see that many were facing worse trials.
It’s very tempting to meet ‘it could be worse’ with an “Amen”, or a pat on the back while changing the subject. It sounds like she’s coping the best she can, right? But honestly, I don’t think we should do that. Instead of reacting to the phrase, I think we should hear the hurt.
We can be her lifeguard, diving into the pool of her sorrow, holding her up so she doesn’t slip beneath the waves.
She needs to talk. Problems lose a little weight each time we tell the story. Just listening makes us a healing presence.
The pain, stress and worry she is feeling is real. She’s sharing so her struggle can be recognized. It calls out to me, begging to be carried, and to be respected as a burden too heavy to carry right now.
Yes, it can always be worse. Thank God it’s not. But I hear your pain, and I want to share in this moment of feeling like you’ve lost the battle. Like you’re ready to tip over from the burden of it all.
As we share our troubles and wisdom and love, may the Lord send His peace and healing to help you cope. May you skate with sure feet over the icy fields on your path.
And may He send His peace and grace to us all, so we never ignore anyone’s pain.
It could be worse? Yeah. I know.
Come on over and tell me about it anyway.
Surrounded by the Spirit on Facebook