Sharing Disappointment - Part 2

We never know what people are struggling with because for the most part, we don’t talk about it. We don’t share the real stuff. We don’t share the hurts that we don’t have a solution for. It’s so easy to present the “I got this and everything else too” side, right? Let’s not talk about what hurts. That’s awkward. Let’s just present what’s fixable or enjoyable and avoid the tensions of life. We choose to hide the unknown and unsolvable. 

I’ll never forget when I realized this fact about people. I met a girl that I had known of and admired from afar. She seemed to have it all together, was beautiful, smart, and seemingly confident. Something brought us together and we started connecting, sharing, and opening our vulnerabilities to each other. It shocked me when I found out she struggled with friendships, lost her dad to cancer, and had to keep tabs on her mom’s mental health.

As a result, I grew to like her more. Her vulnerabilities, her real life struggle, her authentic emotions, and the depth of who she really was behind the confident exterior was so beautiful. I never understood why she seemed to present differently – until I realized that most of us do.

It’s a cultural thing. We present what we think people want to see. We present what’s easy. We present what we imagine to be the ideal / norm / hoped for. We fear being rejected should we dare share the difficult or unsolvable. 

I believe it’s time to talk about it. It’s time to share the real emotions and not even think about an easy fix or solution. Rather, we should be sharing our true selves for the sake of community. We need to share for the sake of inviting others into the reality of our lives. All of it. No shame. With courage. With the hope of family, friends, and community. We need each other to survive and we become stronger through community.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

We need to share ourselves, lean on each other, be open to someone else’s care, and then be willing to sit with someone struggling, even if there isn’t a solution. 

Only the Lord can fix or solve my singleness, so I don’t expect any kind of ‘help’ from my friends. What is wonderful, though, is that my friends can provide me with community. Friendship. Companionship. Groups, teams, networks, connections - whatever you want to call it. Going alone isn’t the cool thing to do, rather, it’s horrible and hard.

Know this: our worth is not dependent upon our social status or accomplishments despite what any form of media tells us.

Our worth is based solely in the fact that we are a created being with a Creator who has a plan for our lives. Whether the plan makes sense to us may not matter because it makes sense to Him. His perspective is the ultimate perspective.

We are created to feel. To share. To be vulnerable. To live in community. “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Gal 6:2. “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Rom 12:10

We need each other. We need to know, hear, understand, walk with, cry with, hope with, pray with each other. Maybe in this experience our perspective will change.

Maybe God will reveal something new, big, or perfectly timed and once again you may have everything you need to make it through another season with hope despite the disappointment. Or maybe it won’t be disappointing after all. If nothing else, you have a group of people to walk through seasons with and help you see different perspectives. So when that one particular song comes on, you will be reminded of the seasons you walked, stumbled, felt, connected, shared, and then ultimately, had victory over. 

- Sharlene O'Reilly