Why Bother Sharing Your Affliction?
None of us are exempt from heartaches, sadness or sorrow. In my small circle of friends, family and coworkers, long term illness, caring for aging parents, death, cancer, depression, chronic pain and estrangement from children are a few of the sorrows we share.
Some type of hardship eventually finds all of us and for a season, we will feel the pain of trouble we never imagined would ever happen to us. These misfortunes have a way of changing, rearranging and sometimes even claiming our very lives, but no matter the affliction, none of us need to suffer alone.
I know from experience that receiving consolation in the midst of personal misery is never easy. In the thick of heartache, even the most genuine consoling words can sound out of place and hard to believe. How does anyone else really know how I feel? How does anyone else know my sorrow will not last forever?
Isolating, blockading and hardening oneself against the discomfort of our sadness might feel much more natural than receiving anyone’s soothing words, yet being alone in one’s misery is by far the worst place to put ourselves. Admitting our heartache to someone else is an admittance of our frailty, and makes us vulnerable. But attempting to remain stoic while under duress is a hard front for anyone to uphold.
When a tragedy strikes, it is difficult to accept it as our new reality. Adversity though, does not wait for an invitation. Hardships never worry about whether or not they will be welcomed when they arrive. Afflictions and catastrophes simply show up, mostly when we least expect them to.
But, they are not something we can wish away, ignore or hide from. Instead, the best thing we can do is learn how to live alongside and with our sorrow. Equally important is to remember that we don’t have to do it alone.
Within my small group of friends, family and coworkers lies a deep pool of consolation and wisdom from which I can draw from. Since we’ve all been touched by some affliction or another, and we’ve all felt heartache, this is the very group from which my consolation will come.
People whose hearts have been broken and mended are the people whom the afflicted identify with. Those with hearts that were once heavy with anguish and are now strengthened are the very ones whose words offer genuine assurance. Those who have been through the fire of suffering are really the only ones who can give support to those who feel the sting of their distress. No one else can carry our grief, but the burden of grief is made lighter when shared.
Why bother sharing your affliction? It is worth sharing afflictions with those who have also been afflicted. For they are the ones who can offer us consolation.