Why Can’t I?


Tonight I was thinking about why I can’t be a lot of things. For instance I am not naturally empathetic, nor am I one that doles out sympathy easily either. My upbringing did not include a lot of either of those emotive skills, so I have an extreme lack of them.

As I was growing up whenever I was sick I was taught to “suck it up buttercup”. I was never allowed to be ill for very long or languish in bed if I had a fever. Most of this behavior came from my mom. I am positive that she developed this inability to let others just be sick from her family not believing that she was very sick at the time that they were all doting on my aunt who had the same illness. Unfortunately that has manifested in me a surliness when others are ill or are worrying about being ill.

Firstly, worrying about having an illness is akin to telling God, “I can’t trust you.” At least to me it is. That is not to say that if you don’t feel well that you should not pursue with all diligence a diagnosis so that you can put a name to the cruddy way you feel, but to borrow trouble before all the tests are in, before treatment options are discussed, to compare yourself to someone else who had the same thing is, to me, telling God that He has no idea what He is doing and he is letting you suffer this malady for nothing.

Secondly (here is the critical spirit rearing it’s ugly head) there are some to me that like either being ill or having chaos in their lives. I am not saying that I don’t wallow a bit myself here and there. This move that we are making has given me more heartburn and stress than raising my children has in 22 years, and quite a bit of that is my not trusting that it will all work out. However, hanging on to things, wanting to be sick, or creating chaos in your life just makes me cringe and not want to be around you. I can’t be sympathetic, it just doesn’t appear to be in me.

I want to be empathetic, I want to feel their pain, but there are times that I just get angry and cynical because others have suffered, lived with or overcome the same things and yet that does not bring them comfort or assurance. I want to ask God to help me with these two things, but it’s a bit like patience, every time I ask for that, a trial seems to appear to teach me patience. I am a bit afraid of what will show up to teach me empathy and sympathy.