"You poor thing!"..."Such a shame."

After sharing some of my troubles with friends recently, I've decided to go back to my original policy of not opening up about problems to people who think they have all the answers.

One old friend hadn't heard about the break-up of my marriage and immediately went into "sad mode" and patted me on the arm, then promptly went over her checklist of What He Must Have Done.

"Did he beat you? That scoundrel. Was it drugs? Oh, I know! He was cheating. Wives are always the last to know." Astounded, I did set her straight, but realized that my policy of non-disclosure was really the most practical one right now.

What is it about our troubles that makes us want to share them with our friends? Does the act of opening up make us feel better, or simply remind us of how bad we feel?

A friend I met through Prayables told me her story, and it turns out that her life was worse than the movie "Sybil" starring Sally Field. She'd been through the most horrific things, and, having been through Hell, it seems that Hell came with her. Lately, she's been having flashbacks that make it impossible to sleep or even think straight.

I really don't have the answer as to why God allows us to hurt in such extreme ways, but I do know that most of the pain is caused by other people, not by God. The Creator of All Things wouldn't go through all the trouble of equipping you with a heart that beats like a metronome, stereophonic ears, and even decorative touches like eyebrows, then put you through a gauntlet of pain and pathos just for kicks.

My theory is that re-hashing painful events only keeps the wounds open and that closure is a myth. Some things may just have to be locked away so they don't poison us with their daily presence in our minds. If even talking about it makes you feel pain, I say, stop talking about it. Protect yourself from the past with the Kevlar of faith and the poultice of prayer. Do what you can to move forward so you're not stuck in the quicksand of the past, and life will get better over time.

Just This Day

Help me stay in the present tense today.
Keep the past where it belongs.
Even the future can be a stumbling block
if it slows me down now.
There's only so much room in my life
for what I need to carry.
If the world is an oyster
and inside it is a pearl,
open it for me.
Polish this day,
shine it up so I see it for the gift it is.
Allow me to be okay, right where I am,
even as I strive to be better.
Just once, filter out the static of what was
so I can be in this moment.

-Ruth Williams


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