What is with people? Why are they so mean to each other? They fight with each other. They say rude things. They hurt feelings. Most have good intentions but they just don’t think before they speak. They say things trying to help or to offer comfort, but people in general have a knack for messing stuff up.
I first started learning how dumb people could be when I was pregnant with the triplets. Comments like “If I were having triplets, I’d kill myself!” or “Oh man, I’m glad I’m not you!” Come on, really? That’s all the encouragement you’ve got for the woman who is going to never sleep again? Seriously … having spontaneous triplets is weird!
The brutality of people’s lack of common sense came rushing back when talking on the phone with a lifelong friend. Heather and I have literally been friends since we were in the womb. Our moms were pregnant at the same time. We have been through a ton – first crushes, Ace of Base, puberty, boyfriends that we now make fun of each other for (what were we thinking?!?), then weddings and babies. The loss of Owen came flooding back when talking with her last night. She miscarried her dear baby a few weeks ago. The feelings and thoughts she shared were like hearing a recording of me from three years ago – people will well intentions saying really horribly, hurtful things. Let’s be clear on a few things …
- My child dying was not “for the best”
- Just because I’m crying a lot doesn’t mean I need medication (well it might, but that’s not the point) I just lost a child – I think I’m entitled to a few tears
- How are you doing is a ridiculous question … how do you think I’m doing?!?
- God didn’t NEED another angel – he’s got millions – it wasn’t His will that an innocent baby die
That leads me to my next thought – God is good, his people aren’t. I’m not saying that they are all bad, but they certainly are not perfect. When people do dumb stuff, it hurts. Especially the people who you would expect to know better – doctors, mothers, pastors, religious leaders, funeral directors. For heavens sake, when I met with the funeral director for Owen’s funeral, one of the first things the lady said to me was, “I know how you must be feeling.” Grief 101 – don’t tell someone you know how they are feelings … you have no clue. Even if you think you do, you don’t. You might have an idea or you can empathize, but everyone’s grief is unique. It took a heck of a lot of restraint to not walk out of that room right then. She meant well, but really missed the mark.
Being new in the ministry industry (that rhymed) I’ve become intrigued with why millennials are not attending church. Why is it that people my age don’t feel like they need a church community in their lives? Until recently, I would have thought they were nuts. Sunday was my favorite day of the week. I go back to the point – God is good, his people aren’t. People have egos, agendas, blinders, defenses that don’t allow them to be kind to each other. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be one of the millennials in the books I’ve been reading. “I’m spiritual but not religious.” I believe in God, just not his people. God is love, his people are broken. The hurt I experienced in church hit me out of nowhere. Took me out at the knees. I was left breathless and devastated.
Bigger picture – how do we reconcile this gap? We need people, yet they hurt us. In a way we are all sadists. In every single relationship we have, there is some kind of hurt – whether insignificant or drastic. Yet, most of us, keep going back for more. Meaningful relationships take hard work. Real love doesn’t come easy.
Real love takes seeing the brokenness we all carry and offering forgiveness … sometimes before people even speak. I knew when I went out in public with the triplets, people were going to say dumb stuff and ask intruding questions. I could expect someone to ask me about my sex life – Were you on infertility? At least one would try and touch my newborn babies. The stares and whispers would be waiting for me around each corner. We were a walking freak show every time we went anywhere. I learned that I had to forgive each and everyone one of them before I even left the house.
I didn’t forgive them for their own sake … I forgave them for me. Yes, you read that right, I offered THEM forgiveness for MY OWN well being. I smiled and nodded, being kind over and over again for my own heart. I refused to fixate on other’s lack of common sense in order to keep my own heart soft and kind. If I allowed them to get into my head, I’d get pissed and irritated. My entire trip to the store would have been frustrating. Rather, it became a game. What is the most ridiculous thing someone will say to me and what witty comeback will I have? I learned to have fun when others were rude or intrusive or when they just said the wrong thing.
The world has far too many problems – war, hate, racism, bullies. We need more forgiveness. The world is seriously lacking in that department. Offer your fellow warrior a little TLC and tolerance. Forgive them before they even open up their mouth. Expect them to say the wrong thing and love them anyway. I’ve got to believe that they mean well. They are coming from their own place of truth. Even when you can’t understand how they could possibly think their behavior or actions were justified, love them anyway. The world is seriously lacking in love. With each of us striving to be love warriors in this world of hate, maybe, just maybe, we’ll start a love revolution. Humans mean well, we’re all just a little dumb.