I love the Looney Tunes episode where the Abominable Snowman picks up Daffy Duck and says, "I will love him and pet him and call him George." I think everyone loves that episode. My favorite part is when Daffy says, "I'm not like other people, I can't stand pain, it hurts me." That line comes to my mind more often than you'd think. Because so often I find myself thinking, "I hate pain!" And that sentence is linked forever in my mind to Daffy Duck. Clearly, I'm a very stream of consciousness kind of person… and not especially mature.
And as much as I hate pain, I love happiness. I'm pretty sure I've just described the sentiments of everyone on the planet. One thing I've noticed about suffering though is the way it joins people together. We can relate to one another's pain and brokenness. And if anyone seems above pain and brokenness—if they seem too perfect, with happy families, perpetually clean houses, successful jobs, great marriages, impressive children, we can't relate to them at all.
We prefer to hide shame and display awards...
Everyone knows that social media can be misleading. Sometimes it appears that everyone is perfectly happy, well adjusted, and thriving. Holiday cards can be like that too. Pictures of happy, clean looking families with words like JOY scrolled across the image. And I love those pictures. I save them and string them on a garland across the mantle. No one wants holiday cards with pictures of people weeping or yelling or shaking their fists. I wouldn't display those. Although I will say, once one of my best friends sent me a Christmas card with a picture of her whole family running from a giant photo-shopped cat, and I definitely displayed that one. But my point is that it makes sense why people make Facebook updates about their kids making the A honor roll but they don't typically make posts about their kids feeling desperately lonely. And there are plenty of "Happy Anniversary to the greatest husband or wife ever" updates but very few that say, "the last 12 years have been a real nightmare". It's because pain is personal. Happiness isn't. That's why there are award ceremonies instead of shame ceremonies. We prefer to hide shame and display awards. And it really would be weird if it was the other way around. But it's so tempting when we look at status updates, holiday cards or award ceremonies to start believing that we are alone in whatever pain we're suffering and that everyone else is fine. And that simply isn't true.
...make the effort to acknowledge unspoken brokenness...
This world is full of beauty and brokenness. When we're on the outside looking into other people's lives through such a limited keyhole view, we have to make the effort to acknowledge that there is more than what we see. There is pain that this person isn't shouting out to the world, not because they are trying to mislead other people, but because they don't feel safe sharing. We, as the viewers, have to make the effort to acknowledge unspoken brokenness or we'll find ourselves in false territory. I've found myself there many times!
~ Amy 💚