I’ve been very indignant about my difficulties over the years. I don’t want to admit it, but it’s true. If you want to know a pretty ugly side of me, keep reading- but I warned you.
The truth is, I’ve probably snubbed my nose at over half of my Facebook friend’s public complaints. Now, in my defense, some of you guys publicly complain about some crazy petty stuff, but in your defense, it’s none of my business.
Also, in your defense, your hard is still hard no matter what I, or anyone else, is going through.
There it is.
There is the piece of advice my husband has been drilling into my head for the past three years. The piece of advice that I’ve adamantly fought for the past three years.
“Their hardships are blessings,” I defended, “They’re complaining about their jobs, their difficult children, their marriage. These are blessings to others.”
Hard is hard, no matter what I’m going through and no matter what you’re going through.
Hard is not a comparable measurement.
There aren’t reasonable levels that determine one trial to be insignificant in the shadow of another.
Hard is hard.
It has taken me a while to get there, and it is taking me even longer to remember to stay here.
Now, I will say, I’m not exactly wrong—only because I’m never wrong, right? Ha.
I’m not wrong in the fact that we should see the things we complain about a little clearer. I’m not wrong in the fact that we often forget that these things we complain about are also the things we prayed for- the husband, job, children.
However, he isn’t wrong either. He’s actually right, very very right. (between you and me, he usually is).
Despite the hardships he and I have faced over the years, we have absolutely no right to judge the level of difficulty of someone else’s life or trial—and you know what? Neither do you.
I understand, people face HARD things in this life. You might have faced hard things over the years, things that make someone else’s stresses seem minor by comparison, but that’s the problem- the word, “comparison.”
Hard is hard. There is no comparison to it.
And despite years of chemotherapy, radiation, surgeries, and all of the emotional turmoil that goes with it, my husband and I are no professionals on the morals of grief and stress. The truth is, we probably struggle and complain about the tedious details, the house chores and the marital spats, more than we struggle and complain about the big fat blatant CANCER in our life.
How weird is that? Hard is hard.
I think people who know hardship, the kind of hardship that actually makes other people look at them and say, “that’s hard. That’s unfortunate that they are going through that,” tend to look down on people who experience the hardships that stay quietly in their own realm of life and difficulty.
I think people who face an illness, or the loss of a loved one, or a life of growing up in hard neighborhoods, you name the trial, tend to look down on people who just lose their way or feel overwhelmed by what is on their shoulders, and I am here to say that as someone who has lived hard times, seemingly easy times, and unbearable times—
HARD is HARD
Today I look at Cancer, and the cruel odds it hands to my marriage and I will say it– Cancer is hard, and cancer is HARD on a marriage.
But so is any other aspect of a marriage. To tell you the truth, and Andrew will agree, some of our hardest days as a couple, and quite frankly as humans, have had nothing to do with health complications. Because marriage is hard no matter the circumstance, and sometimes I just don’t like that guy sitting on my couch, and he doesn’t like me right back. That gets hard. Marriage is hard. There’s no “cancer in a marriage is hard,” it’s just frankly the fact that “marriage is hard.”
I think this translates to every aspect of life. Every trial anyone faces is hard, whether there are hard circumstances in a hard situation, or just a hard situation.
Facing unbearable circumstances doesn’t give you the right to look down on what you would consider bearable circumstances.
Being handed a real crappy deal in life doesn’t give you the right to see the everyone else’s seemingly less crappy deal and think their trial is inferior by comparison.
Yes, people are insensitive.
Yes, people will complain to you about shallow dilemmas while you drown in your own sorrow. Yes, you’ll want to punch them in the face. I’m not naïve to this fact, trust me, I still roll my eyes REGULARLY.
But I’m working on it, and I’m really trying to see something that my husband seems to see so clearly, despite the harsh diagnoses he has faced over the years.
Relationships suffer when you put up a wall of difficulty that essentially says, “your difficulty must be this tall to complain to me about it.” Bad days occur in any season, and these days are hard. These people need to vent, to be heard, and that won’t happen if you force them to view their own hardship in comparison to yours.
Hard is hard. And my hard, your hard, is truly no harder than any one else’s hard. I think when we recognize that, we can grant the world a little grace, a little more empathy. I think when we recognize that we can grant ourselves a little more grace, a little more empathy.
I think when we recognize that, when we implement that into our friendships, our relationships, our fellowships, we share just a little more lovely with the people in our lives.