Yesterday in between classes at church someone made a comment to me about our transition to Oregon. I said that things were better 3+ years in but that we still missed our friends and the North Carolina beaches. (Sharks and all!) She reminded me that Oregon has beaches too and then proceeded to explain to me the way she looks at things, and how I could look at things in this same way and then I wouldn’t be sad about having left my home.
I wanted to smack her. (No, I’m not super charitable, even at church!) This is a person, who with her husband chose to move to Oregon early in their marriage. They’ve lived in the same neighborhood for all of these years, only moving into a bigger house (in the same area) as their family grew. They had 2-3 kids when they moved here and their much-the-youngest 7th child leaves on a mission in 3 weeks, to give you an idea of how long they’ve been here.
Did I mention I wanted to smack her?
The thing is, I know she was trying to be helpful. “Here, if you look at thing from my perspective you won’t feel all of this terrible pain that you’ve been experiencing for so long!!!” But her offer of perspective felt like it negated my very real (and very painful) feelings, and as painful as they have been, they are honest and true and they are mine. It isn’t helpful to have someone say that if I’d looked at things in their way I would have been just fine.
Here’s the other thing, though. I’m good at perspective. Super good at it. I had a friend tell me recently that when she was in a moment where she needed perspective she called me. That statement gave me pause. She didn’t call me when she needed someone to mourn with her. She didn’t call me when she needed comfort. She called me when she was ready for perspective.
This tells me that perhaps I, too, have offered perspective where none was wanted. That I have at some point inadvertantly minimized someone’s pain with my suggestion about a different way to think of things. I hate the thought that I have ever made someone feel the way I felt yesterday, and I should perhaps just start apologizing to everyone I know.
And thank them for not smacking me. ;)