Recently someone expressed upset over trying repeatedly to connect with a friend … and the friend was not responding. She wondered what was going on; she felt hurt by the person’s silence.
Basically, what I told her is this:
I know that it’s disheartening and disappointing … sometimes even heartbreaking … when that happens. We reach out to someone we know and we love … and they don’t reach back. The silence is confusing, painful … and it feels so personal.
In the ‘pastoral counseling’ practicum I did in Seminary, there was a statement we were taught to employ:
“Unless you tell me otherwise, I am going to assume that what’s going on with you has nothing to do with me.”
It’s a good tool to use … I recommend it often, and I say it to myself when I’m in situations like this. It’s easy to start searching in my head for what it is I could’ve done wrong; otherwise, why would they be avoiding me?
But in my sane moments, here’s what I know:
Most people are so busy battling their own demons, they are completely blind to what the people around them experience when they fail to respond. And really, there is no way to know what others have going on; they could be dealing with a death, or an accident, or the typical drama we all face every day just being here on the planet.
Their situations – whatever they might be – and the apparent lack of awareness to our feelings – always call for us to extend tender hearts; mercy, and grace. And let’s be gentle with ourselves as well; it’s truly not about us.
Maybe the other person’s conduct or choices will not allow us to be around them … but we can love them from afar, and hold them in prayer.
I’ve found that it’s when we are at our most unlovable … that we need love the most. It was true for my children, and it’s true for all of us.
“Strive to be understanding, rather than be understood.”
That’s another one we learned in Seminary. It’s sound advice, and something I always try to remember.
Take a deep breath; take three … and wrap your arms around yourself. You are loved. And not forgotten.
May we all be compelled to love without condition … and if, ultimately, we get the sense it’s time to move on, may we do what is necessary; what is best … guided by our tender, compassionate hearts.
Not sure any of this helps, but I hope it does. ♥
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