Today I hit a low. I found out that our foster care process has been delayed and that we won't be getting any little ones until August. Originally it was the end of June. Then the beginning of July. Now, August. I feel an overwhelming sense of sadness. I can't explain it, but my heart truly aches.
I mean, only because I'm an extremely transparent person, I'm sharing this picture I sent to my husband after having a meltdown. I jumped into the little teepee we have in our nursery and I sobbed. Like the ugly cry kind of sob. I had snot coming out of my nose. I was crying so hard by the end of it, I was doing those quick hiccuppy breaths you only do when someone dies. MY HEART HURT. Why? Because I'm weary in the waiting. So freaking weary. I'm ready. To be a mom. To share my heart. To share this awesome life with a kiddo that is so deserving of it. I want this so bad.
It was then that I thought it would be a good idea to turn to social media for support. And I was met with a LOT of sympathy, but very little empathy. And while I read through those comments tears filled my eyes, but they were mostly tears of frustration.
Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the thought. I promise I'm not a jerk. I really am appreciative. Seriously, I felt the love and I thank you for it all. But I feel like the whole world could really use a lesson on empathy.
Sympathy says, I MUST FIX THIS FOR MY FRIEND. Empathy says, I have no idea what to say right now, but here I am, standing with you, hurting alongside you, and rooting for you.
Sympathy says, Hang in there, all of this waiting will be worth it. Empathy says, It's ok to be mad. In fact, I'm going to be mad right beside you.
Sympathy says, Everything happens for a reason, it will all work out. Empathy says, Nothing I could say or do could ever make this better and I am so sorry your heart is hurting.
Sympathy says, It's all in God's timing, it will be ok! Empathy says, I'm 1,000 miles away, but I'm crying right next to you. You will never be alone in this.
Sympathy says, I know what you are going through because I've been there. Empathy says, My experiences are not yours, but I hope you know that when you hurt, I hurt. You are not alone.
When you sympathize with someone, its an immediate need to try to fix it. With words, with actions, with whatever you can to make it better. Sympathy is easy. It seems like the right thing to do.
Empathy is hurting along side of that friend. It is putting your thoughts and feelings and advice aside and offering a hug. It's standing next to them and blatantly admitting that you have NO IDEA what to say but that you are right here and you aren't going anywhere.
Do you see what I'm saying? I feel like it's our human need to try to fix as much as we can, but friends, there are some things in life that just can't be fixed.
The next time you are met with a friend who is suffering through infertility, miscarriage, the loss of a loved one, etc try this: I'm hurting right along side of you. I don't know what to say, but I'm standing with you. I'm rooting for you. I love you.
I promise you, this is enough.
(Thank you, to all of the kind words sent my way. I hope you know that I appreciate them all and that this post wasn't meant to be hurtful, but rather informative about the great big difference between sympathy and empathy. I am so grateful for all of your love and prayers sent our way)
By the way, I took a screenshot of the most beautiful response I received today from a sweet friend who literally stood with her arms outstretched to feel my pain, THIS IS EMPATHY. Thank you, Nancy.