The feeling that “people just don’t understand” is perhaps the most universal experience in human life. Each of us walk a path in life. There are relationships, events, pitfalls, highs, joys, and traumas that are not frequently repeated and are in some ways unique. For example, what happens when a beloved friend or family member dies? People can come and say to us that they are sorry and we are grateful for that but there is also a part of us that says, “You can’t really empathize, even if you also lost someone, because you didn’t have that particular relationship I just lost. You don’t know what I am going through.” To a degree, this is true.
Other than God, no one really does actually know what we are going through, what we think, or how we feel – unless we tell them. Sometimes we can work through challenges with God through prayer. But if something still sticks with us and we are frustrated that others don’t understand us, we must be willing to share so that others can empathize and help (which is important in so many cases – we are made to be in relationship with others). And we have to lay it out as it is. Listening is important but talking – really talking – is too.
I learned this past week that the map of Louisiana that we buy in stores or that is handed out in welcome centers – is an accurate map of Louisiana from 1932! Our actual southern coastline looks much different in 2010 than it did in 1932. But how can we get help, or make people take coastal erosion and rising waters seriously if we don’t project the way it really is? And what is true communally is also true for each of us individually.
God puts people in our path with a purpose. If you think folks really don’t understand how you feel – maybe it’s time to test out the waters and share – really share – what is on our hearts and why.
Just some food for thought on a Wednesday night.
Until next time,