Sometimes, I simply cannot be a sympathetic listener. Sometimes, I have to bite my tongue to not laugh as happened decades ago when an acquaintance vehemently said “Those cousins better not try to get all her money away from us when she dies.”
“Where does she live ?” I asked.
Several states away.
“And when was the last time you visited, called or wrote to her or them?” I asked.
After a bit of thought, “about eight years.”
“So how do you know she is still alive?” I received no answer – maybe because I failed in my struggle to not laugh.
Sometimes it’s folks focusing on their half empty cup such as the person who ended their birthday stating, “This has been the worst birthday ever.”
Why? Short answer, “Except for many birthday greetings, a couple meals made just for me and an early party, nothing else happened. I had to clean house, let the cats in and out, fix my own dinner and make my own coffee.”
I could not say a thing because ‘make my own coffee’ tickled my funny bone instead of my sympathy. Most sympathized. One person observed, “So you got two meals! I never get that.”
I wish having a miserable birthday had been my only issue a few months ago. Perhaps then I would not have had so work to hard obey the Good Book’s admonition, “In everything give thanks.”
Everything? Even birthdays that are the worst! Even when cousins and relatives I have not seen in years may inherit while I get nothing?
Yes. And even when I think circumstances excuse me from giving thanks. Those words reverberated within as I sat in my figurative corner pouting and silently fussing over all the details of wrongs done me.
Finally, I relented, “All right, God, I will give thanks. But only because you said I should. Thank you for this miserable situation.” I told Him everything and I caught a glimpse of a different perspective. I saw what I had: God with me even through difficult times.
The Good Book has another difficult command that really eats my lunch, “Pray for your enemies, for those who mistreat you.”
Say what?! “Pray for that person, God? The one who did steal my inheritance, ruined my birthday?”
No way. Not when I want to list all the wrongs done to me. I don’t know how many times in my life I have fought with God over that verse. In my 20s I remember sitting in an overstuffed chair mulling over the flaws of my enemy of the day when that verse came to mind.
Very grumpily I grouched out a prayer, “Well, God, you told me to do it, so I am doing it. I am praying for my enemy – this person who mistreats me. I don’t like doing it. I don’t like them. I don’t think it is fair, but you said to pray for them. So I am praying for them, but I sure do not want to do so.”
My argument of a prayer went on for a while. When I finished, I slept better. I had a calmer stomach and I could focus on all the blessings I enjoyed even in the midst of my problems with my enemy.
When I do pray as God tells me to pray, I catch a glimpse of ‘why’ He commanded it. It changes my perspective. But if you think I am going let you know more about my miserable situations, think again. I do not want you chuckling at my misery of the moment.