Thursday, August 8, 2013

Relational Challenges

Relationships are hard. I realize that. Knowing what to do when someone is hurting is really important to keeping up your relationship and to encouraging those who are hurting. I've learned a lot since going through the hardest thing I've ever gone through. So I have some things to say that might be tough to hear:

Hearing "let me know if you need something" now officially makes my bones hurt. It's just so unhelpful {though well intentioned}.

Just do something. Anything. I don't know what I need. I'm hurting more than I've ever hurt before. I can't see straight. Just help me. With whatever. Just come put your hand on my shoulder and let me know that you're there when the tears won't stop and I can't even think of the words to pray. Show up. Comfort. Be there. Lend a hand. Be pushy. We need help. Not your words of "let me know..." because I just won't let you know. It's awkward and I'm not sure what I need at any given moment.

"You should have called me."

I was barely surviving. I didn't have time to even realize I should call someone. Or who to call at certain times because I know everyone else is busy too. So if you love me and care, and you think of me, it's really on you to call me. Not the other way around. Think about what you would really do if you were in a tough place. Other than calling your best/closest friends, would you have randomly thought to call someone for a meal or to come clean your house or to come pray with you? I sure didn't think of it until weeks later and I had my wits about me again.

"You were surrounded by and busy with family." 

So? Who says that means that we didn't still need extra prayer over our hurting wounds? Who says there weren't still lonely days surrounded by loved ones when I hurt simply because no one was reaching out and I felt so lonely and aching for my son? Sure we had family but when you're in the hospital or your child is sick, you need a lot of support. When you go through that tough of a time and people don't reach out, it can easily lead to despair. You just want someone, anyone to come over and tell you everything is going to be okay. You want people to just call and say no matter what happens, we're here and we love you.

"I knew you had your hands full so I didn't want to get in the way."

You never know until you reach out. You could have just called. You could have tried. You could have been open with me. I needed you.

"Just trust God."

Really? You don't think I'm trying? When you're hurting and fighting with all you've got to rely on your faith in the Lord, but it's harder than you imagined, hearing these words just doesn't help. Be understanding and supportive. Pray with me. Remind me of God's faithfulness and goodness, his mercy and his grace. But don't tell me what to do or how to feel. God's working on my heart and clearly trying to change me as a person through this trial. Your attempts at telling me to just trust God fall flat and make me feel like a bad Christian.


I know every personality is different and this isn't necessarily true of everyone, but most new first-time moms I've spoken to want to at least be reached out to, even if they turn away the help. They want to still feel included and loved. Not rejected and forgotten.


I don't say any of this to sound like a jerk. Seriously, please take it in a loving/grain-of-salt manner because that's how I mean it. I'm just trying to explain things from my side of the fence. Thanks for listening. And hopefully this helps the next time someone you love is going through a tough time. :)


Jenny Hart said...

Thank you for posting this. I just found your blog and am currently at work. Reading this at my desk fighting back the tears. I can relate to all you've just said. It's so comforting to feel validated. Knowing I'm not alone in my relational battles makes me feel empowered and encouraged. Makes me feel less like, if I bring this up, will I lose one more person. I only have one friend left. Friends began dropping like flies since I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2009. Not to mention all the strained family relationships that leave me feeling invisible and worthless. Thank you for posting this and thank you for sharing your heart. You made a difference in my life today

Rochelle said...

Jenny, thank you for your comment! I'm blessed to know that this meant a lot to you. It was heavily on my heart but it was hard to write because I didn't want people to think I was being mean. Know that you are not alone or worthless!!! I know this feeling all too well, please feel free to email me - rochellelearning dot gmail dot com (spelled out to avoid spam). I'd love to connect with you directly!! Gentle hugs to you, my Fibro friend. Hang in there!

georgia b. said...

rochelle... i could have written this myself. you are spot on. and i don't think you sound snarky at all. i think you had/have valid frustrations, and you merely sound frustrated. any person who read this would say the same thing if they had gone through what you or i have gone through.

read this...

it is so relevant to this and what i wrote in my email to you recently.

people just don't realize how unhelpful it is to say "let me know if you need anything." people don't just do that... let others know. not unless they are asked, "is there something i can do for you right now?" i was fortunate to have a few people who did that for me. or people like you, who just showed up and did it without asking, no matter if i told them i needed it or not.

unfortunately, most people will not learn this until they have been through something where they need the same themselves. that is why i think posts like this or my "on our hearts" post or the one i linked to above are good. i think people have good intentions and just need to know how to let those intentions manifest... in ways better than how they tend to manifest for most.

i just feel so much for you, having gone through, not just the part of what went wrong in the hospital with your son, but also the way it was handled by friends and family afterward. like i told you, some days, it's the response of others that is more difficult than the actual thing you went through that is hardest to deal with or accept. how sad. i think we live in such an isolated world these days, where it's easy to make a facebook comment that says "i'm praying", but hard to do anything practical because there is so much less of a sense of community with all the individualizing that "social" media has created. crazy!

one thing i can say, going through that lack of help and support can make us better people. look how you were for me in my trial... likely more tender toward them because of what you went through. so, there is an upside to experiencing that loss... it makes us be one of the few that will cover others when they are hurting or struggling. and if you ask me, that is a joy... to know i may be used that way some day. and you will be blessed for it, as well as rewarded in heaven.

love you. thanks for leading me to this post. it's a good one.