“I can sympathise with everything, except suffering,” said Lord Henry, shrugging his shoulders. “I cannot sympathise with that. It is too ugly, too horrible, too distressing. There is something terribly morbid in the modern sympathy with pain. One should sympathise with the colour, the beauty, the joy of life. The less said about life’s sores the better.” – Oscar Wilde; The Picture of Dorian Gray
(In this post, the use of the word ‘suffering’ refers to anyone who is afflicted physically or mentally with illness or just someone going through a rough time in life. )
One of my favourite quotes from Oscar Wilde. The world sadly, too comfortably turns away from suffering. How many of us turn away from poverty right in our faces? How many of us turn away from the homeless on the streets or someone who lost a limb begging for loose change? What is the most we have done for this people? We give them our loose change and leave.
Have we ever reached out further? Why aren’t we learning from the few people who have? Have we gone out of our way, giving our time and effort to look for social help to get a homeless person a job and a new house to start life anew? We donate via phone calls and online donations to the suffering in what we call, third world countries but have we took a step further? How can the world be living in such over excessive, disgusting luxury while at the other end, people are starving to death? Babies are thrown in forests in Africa awaiting death while vultures standby waiting to feast on their flesh. There are so much and so many more issues in the world that needs to be addressed quickly. Human LIVES are at stake but all we want to see is luxury brands and maybe even ourselves plastered on the walls of shops and in advertisements.
Would people keep posters of people in poverty in their room? Would people stop and stare at the poster of poverty or illness? Probably not, because it’s easier to turn away from these realities that are not ours.
“All the brothers of a poor man hate him; How much more do his friends abandon him! He pursues them with words, but they are gone.” -Proverbs 19:17
I’ve learnt through depression and health issues since my teenage years that no one stays. They might for awhile. Then when they realise they can’t fix you or your situation, they leave. How many times have we heard of stories where loved ones get left behind due to illness because the other just can’t handle it? It is the same for all types of suffering.
After the prank gone wrong and where this strange dizziness and vertigo began, the very first person who left me was the same guy who told me he felt ready to marry me. The guy I gave my whole heart to and vice versa. Or so he claimed. He left me for our good friend. The second were the friends who were in the same ministry as this guy and myself. The same friends that I was close to and took years to open up to before his existence even came into the picture. We are talking church leaders, worship leaders and etc. The people who basically said they would journey with me. Sure, they gave me the tools and headed for the end of the journey first and waited for me to find the way there myself. (Why I Left The Church Ministry)
“Do not forsake your own friend..” -Proverbs 29:10
“.. And my intimate friends have forgotten me.” -Job 19:14
“You have removed my acquaintances far from me; You have made me an object of loathing to them; I am shut up and cannot go out. My eye has wasted away because of affliction; I have called upon You every day, O LORD; I have spread out my hands to You.” -Psalm 88:9-10
They didn’t have to leave me just because they didn’t know what to say or what to do. They shouldn’t have left me when they knew the situation I was in physically too. It’s been over 3 years with doctors being clueless about my condition and those that I was close to weren’t there even for a step. If they really cared, they would have reached out further.
People leave because..
The reality is that people just can’t look at suffering. They don’t know what to do with it. They don’t know how to comfort the person suffering which is why they leave. Where is the problem with this?
The mindset. If you know someone suffering with a mental health issue or physical illness, disability or just going through a rough time in life, all you have to do is acknowledge their suffering.
Do not take it upon yourself. Do not absorb their problems. By giving your whole entire being and relying on your own strength to help another, you for sure are going to get worn out. That’s one common thing I noticed in the people who broke my heart the most upon reflecting. I realised that they absorbed my problems. They take in all that negativity. My friends, empathy is great but not to this extent. You have to be strong in order to help someone out! If you keep absorbing their struggles, you are going to end up burning out and leaving them. Don’t.
Rely on God’s strength to help someone out. Trust in him. Don’t trust in yourself to help someone else out because humans always fail.
If you are one of those people who left someone in their suffering, this post is not to beat you up. This post is to encourage you to go back and apologise to that person and ask the question: “How can I be there for you the best way I can be as a friend? As a fellow human.”
People have different love languages and receive love differently. By asking this question, you are able to hear what they need in their difficult time. By knowing what they need, you then know how to help them. Then things wouldn’t be so hard for yourself too.
If it is something even doctors are having difficulty with, say, “I can’t help you but I know that you are going through something really tough and I’m going to be by your side just for you to lean on or cry on every step of the way and I hope my presence will be enough.”
Because, trust me, it will be.
“There are people in this world whose only experience of Christ’s love will be what they experience in you.”
Be kind to one another,
Tweet me @Godvsdepression