The first night was rough, as the doctor said it would be. On top of that, my husband was away on business for the night. Before he left, and with much strong arming, we got Josiah all filled up with meds - three, to be exact. Then, alone for the evening, I held my baby on the couch where we watched movies until bedtime.
Fast-forward to 2:30 AM - I text my husband - "Well....we're up."
There were a few minutes of inconsolable toddlerness, but eventually he calmed down. It was 3 hours before we were both able to go back to sleep. During that time, we watched a couple movies, and I grabbed my phone to see what was going on in the cyber world. I saw a Facebook post from a young mother that said her 6-year-old had a broken femur and was being tested for rare genetic bone diseases. Meanwhile, she had to stay still, and so this mother was looking for things to entertain her daughter as she lay still for the next several weeks......then I read her post again (after all, it was in the wee hours of the morning) and I realized......she wasn't a 6-year-old......she was a 6-week-old. My heart just ached when I thought of this little baby with a broken leg, and of her poor mama. Then, I started thinking of other friends who have had to deal with serious illness in their children. I thought of one in particular whose adult daughter was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. And in thinking of these two ladies.....I thought.....my situation could be worse....at least I'm not dealing with the things they are dealing with. And..... I felt guilty.
True, in any situation, things could always be worse......but then I realized something: Even though my situation is different from what others are having to face, it still hurts.
Knowing that something could be worse, but isn't, definitely makes me grateful......but to simply say "it could be worse" somehow seems like I'm also saying "I shouldn't feel bad about this, because it could be worse and it's not." or "Someone else has it worse than me, so they can feel bad - but I shouldn't."
But, I'll tell you what......hard as I tried, knowing that my baby didn't have a broken leg, or....something worse, didn't make me any less upset about his condition. In my head, I knew that this was a treatable illness, and that he'd most likely be ok in a few days, but I also knew that I was holding a sick child that was in pain, and I know how that made me feel - it was like someone ripped my heart out and stomped all over it......and I was sitting there feeling guilty about it, just because it wasn't worse.
I thought about this for awhile.....and I decided.....it's ok. It's ok for me to have an emotional response to the situations I face in life, and I don't have to compare my situations to anyone else's to validate my feelings. It doesn't make me less grateful for my blessings, it doesn't make me less aware of others' struggles, it makes me.....human.
Instead of trying to minimize my feelings that night, I chose to acknowledge them. Instead of telling myself that the situation I was dealing with didn't matter in light of others' current circumstances, I told myself that if it matters to me, it matters to God. Even if I try to act like something doesn't bother me, he knows that it does....and it's ok that it does. He created me, and he knows me in the most intimate sense. To think that he would have me reason away feelings that clearly upset me, minimizes the depth and scope of his perfect, infinite love for me. Furthermore, we are promised that we will have trouble in this life.....but we're also promised that He will walk with us through any trial we face, and that in the end, we are ultimately victorious.
Bottom line: Just because it isn't worse than it is.....doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. Doesn't mean it shouldn't hurt. And, no matter how big or small your circumstance is (on whatever scale it is we use to measure that), the Father knows our pain, and is right there with us....always. Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus.
Be well, my friends.......