I was recently talking to someone that has gone through a series of terribly traumatic events over the last couple of years. All of us can relate to going through difficult times. We all can understand what it’s like to hurt or feel empty and depressed. The thing that amazes me, however, is that this person has had to endure something that should never happen…especially at that hands of people on the “inside” of our faith. This person was told by fellow believers and “friends” that it was time to “move on.” They were told that the time had come to “get over it” and get back to normal. I wish I could say that I was never guilty of saying these kinds of things to people, but the fact is, I’ve definitely been guilty of such B.S. The thing I found most alarming about this occurred to me while pondering why we so often feel the need to tell people such insensitive things…
Over the past 19 months, I’ve encountered some similar things. Because people can’t see a brain injury, it seems as though they don’t believe it exists. In fact, I was told by one guy that I needed to just be of “strong mind.” Another person told me that the process of recovering was taking too long. I don’t want to demonize anyone. I don’t think intentions are bad when we talk to others regarding these situations. I think we are really trying to help them out. We think that we are going to give them a wake-up call and help them get over the hump of their struggles.
First let’s deal with the myth at hand. We never “get over” anything. Nothing that happens in our lives is just a passing situation that has no lasting effects. Everything we experience and everyone me meet has an impact on our thinking and our personality. Everything changes us in some way. We don’t get over things, but instead things attach to our lives and affect us as we move forward. We don’t get over things, we move forward with the change they’ve made in us. If you lose a loved one, that void will never again be filled. If you lose a limb, no attachment or painkiller will make you the way you once were. Instead, we begin a new leg in the journey that is totally unfamiliar. We have to learn to navigate an entirely new environment. We will be forever changed. And that’s okay. That’s part of living the human experience. We cannot be wiped clean and simply act as if nothing happened while remaining mentally healthy (in my opinion anyway).
Why do we feel the need to say things like this to people? I’m sure there are good reasons. I’m sure that much of it has to do with thinking that we are helping them. But there’s something more self-centered at work, too…something downright nefarious when we really consider it. I have friends that I love talking to and hanging out with. I love the way they make me laugh and bring comfort and levity. Sometimes, someone may have a terrible event occur. That event obviously has an impact on them. Now, my friend that brought me so much joy and so much fun is not the same. They are a modified version of themselves. They may become solemn or somewhat erratic. Either way, they are not the same as they once were. And that bothers me. Me. That’s the key to this issue. I’ve found that when I’ve told others to get over something, it’s because I’m not comfortable with how this is affecting me. In my self-centered thinking, my goal is to help my friend return to the person I enjoyed being around…the person that made me happy. I don’t like dealing with this newer version of someone…because this version actually requires for me to adapt as well…and I’m not okay with that…because I have a tendency to think everyone was put on earth to serve me and make me happy.
Instead of trying to “fix” people, we should be trying to figure out how we can give. We aren’t put here make everyone’s life rosy and fun. But we do have a purpose in providing companionship and comfort to each other. I’ve got to spend more time thinking about others and pondering how I can be of service than I do trying to figure out how to enrich my own life from them.
Just imagine what it would be like, especially in the body of faith, if we were truly as concerned with others as we are with our own comforts… I’m not talking about bleeding hearts or world missions. I’m just talking about authentic two-way relationships where we’ve each realized that we are indeed NOT the center of the universe.
Image taken from: https://amuddylife.com/2016/10/17/my-kids-dont-go-to-school-get-over-it/