Sunday, January 26, 2014

"It's not a big deal"

(image found through Google search)
A few weeks ago my daughter and I had some sort of misunderstanding.  She was hurt and offended by something that I no longer remember.  What I do remember was coming out of the kitchen to see her drag a blanket over to her howling spot and then sit down and proceed to cry.
"Oh Avi!" I cried, "It is not a big deal"
She stopped for a second and looked at me; her eyes got bigger- more round and you could see reflected in them the emotion 'how can you say that?'
She broke down into greater sobs- more heartbroken then before, not only was she upset about whatever it was that had gone wrong- she had no one on her side to emphasize with her.
This moment was no longer than the space of an intake of air- and suddenly I was that small girl- and I was upset about something, and someone was telling me, "It's not a big deal"
"grown ups are so dumb" I remember thinking, "of course it isn't a big deal to them; they are bigger than me" I resolved at that time to never, ever, say anything like that to my kids.  I would try to see it from their point of view before I ever passed judgement.  I cannot remember how old I was- but I was quite young; and it was such an important thought to me that I repeated it often in my mind as I grew up.
Eventually it had faded to the back of my mind and it slammed right into me as I looked at my little girl.  I did what I thought was right at that point- walked over to her and picked her up and talked to her about what had happened.  I remember she wasn't in trouble- she had just made some mistake due to the limitations of her small body.  I truly wish I could remember what it was- I just know that I had to comfort her.
As adults we still utter this idea to each other- not always in these exact words- but it still comes across as such 'oh- well at least you aren't going through <blah>'  I know I've done it- it's hard not to.  As if somehow pointing out that your life could be so much worse will somehow help the situation.  No one means it that way but that is how it comes across 'it's not a big deal, get over it'. This isn't to say that this piece of advice isn't perfectly sound sometimes- but I think most of the time- it is a big deal- maybe not to the one outside the problem- but for the one inside the problem, the person that is in that particular moment; it is.  I've looked back on situations in my life that were so hard to get through- that I laugh at now.  I have more life experience, I have more emotional maturity- if faced with the same situation I would react VASTLY differently; because I've already been through it.
Back to the moment with my daughter.  After I helped calm her down and we talked through her sadness- she went to her tasks that are so important to an 18 month old; and I went back to whatever was pressing at the time.
My mind stayed stuck on the situation that had just occurred and I couldn't help thinking; as I have often done since having kids; of the relationship between Our Father in Heaven and ourselves.  So many times I have prayed (I suppose everyone has) for help getting through a situation, or just pouring out the anguishes of my heart to him.  He's been through everything I have and more! There is no way that my troubles could be perceived as a 'big deal' to Him.  And yet- I feel like he listens; and I feel like I get answers to my prayers.  Sometimes the answer is, 'It's not a big deal' but it comes across with such love and in contexts where the sentence continues a bit further.  "It's not a big deal because I love you and will help you through it." In every way we are like children to him- and our little spirits have limitations- the reason we are here is to grow and learn.  He'll help us through all of our hardships and sadness.  That love is a powerful force.
This all came to mind again today as I talked to a girl I'd never met before- and mentioned to the poor girl- who had just gotten married not 5 months ago- all of the frustrating things that had happened over the last 2 years.  I do not know what I did this- except I needed to talk and she came over to talk to me for no particular reason that I could see.  She smiled and said 'I'm sorry- I couldn't even imagine going through all of that" It was not the response I was expecting- I don't know what I was expecting- but not that.  It brought back to my mind that idea that had crossed my mind so many weeks before, "I love you and I will help you through it"
So I thought I'd share.

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