Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Let's Talk About It!

Last week, I received a phone call from a close friend. We had such a wonderful time catching up on the events in each others life, and of course, laughing together. Friendship is a wonderful thing. Truly a gift from God to bless our life in ways unlike anything else can do. I hung up the phone refreshed, revived and ready to face the day.

As we were reminiscing about times gone by, I was reminded of a powerful lesson taught to me by a five year old, wise beyond his years.

It was BJ's first day at preschool. He was only two and this was his first adventure away from the familiarity and security of his mother. As soon as his mother walked out the door, leaving BJ behind, his tears had started to flow. And flow they did....on and on and on, like a steady river.

I tried everything I could think of to bring comfort to this precious little boy. I tried showing him around the room, pointing out fun toys and puzzles. He wasn't interested. I tried introducing him to some of the other children. He wasn't ready to make their acquaintance. I tried reading him a story. He was only interested in his own story....life in a new place, without his mom.

All through out the morning, BJ would cry, then stop momentarily, only to stammer, "I want my mommy" and then, start crying all over again. If only I could get his mind off his mom and onto something else in this room, I thought.

A short while later, another student, five year old Benjamin, walked over to where we were sitting. BJ, still visibly distraught, had for the moment at least, hushed his crying and I was hoping to keep this tear-free moment going for the rest of the day!

"What's wrong with him?" Benjamin wanted to know.

"Oh, he'll be fine," I said, "It's his first day, so everything is new to him and he's just feeling a little uneasy about being here.".

No," Benjamin replied. "That's not what's wrong with him. He misses his mommy."

In a split second, the word I had been trying so desperately to avoid was out there. I was sure at the near mention of the name, "Mommy", BJ would once again burst into tears.

"Uh, let's not talk about that, OK, Benjamin? I think talking about it will only make BJ feel worse. Let's talk about something else, OK?" I now found myself feeling just as uncomfortable as little BJ.

"NO. I can tell this is really bothering him and I think we should talk about it" Benjamin said, as he moved right up next to his brand new classmate and looked him straight in the eye.

"You miss your mommy, don't you? Well, you know what? When I first came here, I missed my Dad. But don't worry. My dad always comes back to get me, and your mom will come and get you too. Now, dry up those tears. Wanna play with me?"

To my utter amazement and total surprise, BJ wiped his eyes, climbed off my lap, then took hold of Benjamin's hand as they wondered off to play. I sat there totally speechless. For hours, I had tried to bring comfort to BJ, yet foolishly, I had totally missed the mark. Instead of tackling the issue head on, I had tried to skirt around it, and avoid it completely. Who says we can't learn from children?

Benjamin, having gone through a similar experience, was well equipped to handle this situation. He knew exactly what BJ was feeling, and spoke to the heart of what was bothering little BJ the most.....fear of abandonment. Once Benjamin reassured BJ that his mom would eventually come back for him, he was free to play and have fun.

How many times have you and I skirted around issues, not wanting to bring any more pain or discomfort to those around us? We casually talk about the weather, share in politics, or talk about the cost of groceries, all the while missing the mark totally. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is to talk about it.

Yes, it might be awkward at first. And yes, it may stir up painful memories or buried hurts, but in the end, it will bring comfort and healing. There is something powerful in talking to someone who has been there and experienced first hand what we our self are going through. There is also something equally powerful about sharing your own experience and your testimony with someone who is now walking down a road you have already traveled.

I am a firm believer that pain has a purpose. We will all suffer pain in some form or another in our lifetime.The choice, then, is not will we hurt, but rather what will we do with our hurt. We can choose to allow the hurt to take root in our heart, producing loneliness, bitterness or apathy, or we can choose to find the purpose in our pain, and instead use our own experience to help someone else. Then, and only then, will our pain begin to reveal it's purpose. Purpose, in turn, will brings with it strength, restoration and healing. The Bible tells us to comfort one another with the comfort we have been given. The only way we can do this is to talk about it......openly and honestly.

Is there some hurt in your life that you have been carrying around way too long? Why not find someone whom you trust, and talk about it? Is there someone you know who could use a listening ear and an understanding heart? Why not ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words they need, and then approach that person. Let's quit ignoring the issues of our hearts. Why should we choose to settle for only pain, when God has so much more in store for us, if we are simply willing to talk about it.

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