On facebook today a friend posted a comment about how stressed she was. I read through the comments and came upon the obligatory “God only gives us what we can handle” platitude.
I came very close to posting a reply but decided I wasn’t in the mood to educate one stranger about the stupidity of that concept at the expense of the general niceness on my friends wall so I decided to come here and vent about it instead.
Three weeks after the twins died I went back to work. For weeks I’d been hearing platitudes like that that and they ran through my brain constantly. On the way to work the first day back, in Port Authority, I noticed for the first time a woman sitting on the floor crying. I wondered if she was OK but kept going on my way. I was probably crying too, as I did a lot on those walks in the early days.
Then I saw her again the next day, same spot on the floor, crying.
And the next day.
And I thought to myself, “Clearly, God has given this woman more than she can handle.”
It’s been three years and I still see her there from time to time. Same spot, on the floor, crying.
In my mind I’ve invented a story about her where her son was sent to war and died. I don’t know why I created that story, but I just imagine that there are few things worse than the death of a child and this woman has clearly been through a lot. Maybe I’m being kind, and she’s simply a crack addict who cries all day and takes drugs all night. I have no idea. But there are people all over who have nervous breakdowns, get institutionalized and /or put guns in their mouths all the time. I suppose nobody ever shared with them that God wouldn’t have given them more than they could handle. Clearly, that tidbit of insight would make a world of difference.
While I’m here and feeling so generous and snarky with the advice, let me suggest the following:
“Everything happens for a reason.” is not a statement of fact.
“He’s in a better place.” has never brought a baby loss mom an ounce of comfort.
…I’ll stop before I get carried away.
And to my friend who is feeling stressed, I have no great advice for you except to wear happy colors and know that you’ve helped me manage my own stress in a million ways, so thanks! You rock.