Heartache on a Scale from 1-10

How can she complain about being fat?  I weigh twice as much as she does.  She gets a 3 from the judges.  I get at least a 5.I may be having trouble in my marriage, but at least my husband doesn’t yell at me in public.  I have nothing to complain about.  I can only claim a 6.

I was only 13 weeks along when the baby died.  I guess I don’t really know what it’s like to lose a child.  It feels like a 9, but I’m sure it’s only really a 4 or a 5.  You don’t get a 10 for suffering unless your child reaches at least age 5 before they go.

She talks about how miserable it is to have a boyfriend who cheats on her.  Her suffering is her own fault.  She should just get out of the relationship.  I don’t think she should even get a place on the scale.  At least she’s not single like me.  I’ve been so lonely for so long.  I’m an 8.

Your best friend is moving away.  You’re 6 years old.  You’ll get over it.  I know you think your heart is broken, but you don’t yet know the meaning of suffering.  This is merely a 1.

sad boyThese are all exaggerations of things I’ve felt or heard from other women.  Sometimes it feels like there’s a giant scale.  We judge our own suffering and the perceived suffering of others and we do it with comparisons.  Laylee’s heartbreak over a canceled play date just doesn’t seem to hold a candle to the sadness I felt when my family moved from Alberta to Houston when I was in High School.

Now that move seems like a walk in the park compared to some of the things I’ve gone through at this point in my life.  I’m sure someone in their 80s could tell me stories to make me question whether I’ve ever really suffered at all.

Does it mean that when I was 16 and leaving my one true love in a foreign country that my heartbreak wasn’t real or valid?

When I look back through my life, there are times when I’ve said, “This is the worst day of my life.  I don’t how I’ll ever make it through.”Â  I FELT my sorrow pressing all around me and it seemed that nothing could be worse than what I was going through.

There are other times that I’ve gone through something hard, looked around me and thought, “I’m not allowed to be sad.  My heartache isn’t nearly as bad as hers.”

Why the comparison?  Where is the compassion?  We are all broken in some way or other.  We all need it.  We are all allowed to suffer and we should all have compassion for others in their suffering and for ourselves. 

In some of my darkest hours, I’ve had the most empathy for those around me.  I remember days where I walked around like a silent zombie, staring at the people I passed and wondering what secret pain they carried around with them.  I wanted to hug strangers and ask them if they were okay.  I wanted to heal everyone.  I knew I couldn’t.  I knew the Savior could but it wasn’t immediate for me or for them.

At times I have been embraced by people who barely knew me.  Friends have cried and prayed with me, not knowing why they were.

So when we suffer and wait and pray, let’s throw away our mental ranking systems and treat every person like they are worth loving, like their heartbreak is as big as it is to them.  In loving and validating someone else, you will feel your own burden start to ease.

If a heart is young or unscarred, it may not take much to break it, but oh how it feels the pain.  Give the owner a break, even if it’s you.

the reasons: salamanders alive or dead, broccoli that tastes like cheese with a hint of broccoli, prophets

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