A young teenage girl (NOT BELLA) went to the mall with her parents. She was going to meet her friends. Tragedy struck as her friends were late. She was waiting out there in full view of all that were at the mall, right next to her parents. She kept staring into her phone and finally exclaimed, “This is the worst.”
A friend of mine was telling me about this and then said that he was watching the movie about the miners trapped in Chile. He imagined a penultimate moment when they thought that they had no chance of survival saying, “Friend, we have no more food, no drinking water, no way out. This is the worst…except if we were stuck at the mall with our parents.”
Having shared that with me we laughed about all of the situations in life where we could imagine someone saying, “This is the Worst” and then saying, “Except…”
Colin Dunlap of 93.7 The Fan is the morning host of a sports radio show in Pittsburgh. Over two years ago his daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia. They decided to make their battle public so people could learn about what it’s like to have your child go through treatment for cancer (sound familiar?). The other day he tweeted about a guy who picked up a carton of eggs without even checking to see if they were all intact and not cracked. He described it as, “one of the most horrifying sights I’ve ever witnessed.” This is a man who has seen the very worst that life has to offer, chemo, steroids, fear, pain, and all that cancer has to potentially crush a family. This man said that opening eggs without checking first is horrifying!
Well, it is. Does it compare to watching your child suffer? No. Is it as bad as being stuck at the mall with your parents? Clearly not. Remember, that is the worst.
All of this based on an adolescent girl throwing a passive aggressive temper tantrum? Yes, kind of. You see, for that girl in that moment she was feeling terrible about not being accepted by her friends. She was feeling that she was getting too much attention in ways she didn’t want. Her emotional needs were not being met.
No matter who you are and no matter what the situation, it hurts when your emotional needs aren’t met. Yes, being stuck in a mine is far worse than being stuck at the mall with your parents. Yes, watching your child get a spinal tap is far worse than seeing someone pick a dozen eggs without checking to see if they’re broken (it does send chills down your back though).
Too often we think that our present maladies are insignificant compared to what others are going through. We figure that others have it worse so we shouldn’t be encumbered by what affects us. Nothing could be further from the truth. All hurts…hurt. Even though I have seen spinal taps on my son, even though I have seen the effects of chemo, even though I have experienced telling his brother and sister that he died, little stuff still drives me crazy. I am still put off when I let someone out in traffic and they don’t wave. Litter is something that will never be ok. Twitter comments and polarizing politics cause me great rage and despair. If I had not spent hours grieving and being comforted through the worst, my negative reactions to these “minor” hurts would be drastically inflamed.
The hidden beauty in all of this is the fact that having gone through things that are “the worst” I can have a depth of compassion and comfort for those who are hurting. Again, if I have not learned about and experienced true comfort, I (and others) would not have this ability and would be filled with angst, depression, and bitterness. It is my honor to cry with those that cry, mourn with those who mourn.
Fixing people? Telling people how to feel? Minimizing someone else’s pain? Ignoring the hurts of others? THAT…THAT is the worst.