A few weeks ago, a man stood in front of our church and shared the testimony of his child who, as an infant, should have died, but was spared.
In my Facebook feed I see a friend cheering the anniversary of her remission from cancer.
I recently attended a wedding where I watched a young man and woman dressed in their finery, celebrating one of the happiest days of their life as a couple.
These are all beautiful moments and I’m thankful that I was able to rejoice with these people as they shared these joyous experiences.
But in that church service, I was sitting beside my best friend who, 13 years ago, watched his five-day-old son slip from this life into the next.
In that same Facebook feed, I see a friend begging for prayers that the pain she is experiencing from her most recent surgery to combat the cancer that just. won’t. leave. would be alleviated.
Following that wedding reception, I texted a friend who is going through a separation.
We’re not great at those moments, especially as Christians. We’re taught and we repeat
Count it all joy!
All things work together for good!
God won’t give you more than you can handle!
and other amalgamations that sound like the truth, or at least make the truth of awful situations easier to dismiss.
Because sometimes the truth doesn’t fit into our vision of how God is supposed to work. God isn’t supposed to allow infants to die. God isn’t supposed to allow people of faith to suffer disease. God isn’t supposed to allow people to fall out of love.
So we look for ways to make sense of it. Ways to wash away the stench of the offal from the butchering of “supposed to.” Ways to scrape the shit of life from our shiny patent leather Church shoes.
This is more for our benefit than for the person who is suffering. It’s much easier to tell people to buck up than it is to sit and hold them while they cry. Easier to offer platitudes than silence. Easier to pretend that the shit doesn’t stink than to allow that odor to settle in our noses.
Instead of looking for ways to weep with those who weep, we look for ways to cheer up those who are sad. Silver linings, turn that frown upside down, look for the positive.
Sometimes the positive is knowing someone will weep with us.
Sometimes the positive is knowing that life can turn to shit and someone will hold us anyway.