I spent the last few days feeling guilty about feeling bad. People all around me are sick – some gravely so. So naturally I feel a little weird about my issues. After all, how do you compare the relative inconvenience I face with issues of the life-changing, life-threatening variety?
But after spending a few minutes dealing with this irrational guilt, I put a little thought behind it. And I realized something. Pain is not a zero-sum thing. How bad I feel bad in no way diminishes how awful someone else has it. There is, I firmly believe, more than enough misery to go around.
I wonder sometimes if my ongoing struggles are simply God’s way of teaching empathy, of helping me understand how much more to life there really is. Even when it hurts.
Especially when it hurts.
I am in no way a fan of feeling crappy. But I find it interesting that I see what’s going on in the lives of people around me most clearly when I’m feeling particularly low myself. I don’t know why, but when I’m sick, I notice how other people are feeling. When I’m hurt, I pick up on the hurt others are going through. When I’m in pain, I find myself wanting to help my friends through their pain.
I’m not very good at it. But I hope to be. Because I have to tell you, helping someone through their pain is what relieves my own. I have experienced no greater feeling than what I get when I’m of some use to someone in need.