Forward progress

13511042_10154214939926763_6505748762857644676_nWas the game called Sorry where you move game piece forward or back based on where you land?  The other day my daughter said, “Two steps forward and ten steps back” and I visualized that game.  She was referring to her baby’s progress this week after three months in the NICU.  She was frustrated, exhausted both physically and mentally and was exaggerating just a tad.  It would have been easy for me to say something trite like, “Well, it could be worse”, or “All in good time”, but I knew it was better to just stay silent and try to rub the knot out of her neck.  I know my daughter and her patience level was waxing thin on that particular day.

I have learned that sometimes it is just better to say nothing.  I should say that I am learning this, because I certainly haven’t mastered it.  I have an entire library of “go to” clichés that are completely useless or even irritating in situations that I fail miserably at recognizing on occasion.  Sometimes a smile or a hug or just your being there does more to ease the angst of the weary than a thousand words could ever do.  Often, just listening is all that is needed; we don’t always have to feel compelled to “fix” things.  This is hard for me, I will admit.  I want to give advice, answers, help resolve and implement ideas!  But, as I said, I am learning.

I don’t have the time or inclination to delve into the multitude of issues that I’ve been faced with in the last few months.  However, suffice it to say that I understand being too tired to talk or too mentally exhausted to answer a simple question without emotions turning into teardrops.  With that said, I know in whom I trust and I can approach my trials and tribulations without fear and with faith.  This doesn’t mean I won’t get bone tired sometimes and need to seek a quiet peaceful place to re-fresh myself for the next battle.  (Yes, there will be more this side of heaven.)

What always compels me though to think I have to have an answer or suggestion for every tough situation I see others going through?   I don’t know.  Most of the time, I truly believe it’s that I really do want to help and soothe someone’s heart and I’m just not always sure of how best to accomplish that.   I do know that I had NO idea what people were going through when they spent months at a hospital with their child until our precious Cali was born.

Sheepishly, I think back at how silly or even heartless some of my pre-Cali comments must have sounded to others.   The thing is, we really do not know what anyone is going through unless we have walked in those same shoes and even then, experiences still vary from person to person even in the same scenario.

It amazes me that even in the tough times; God teaches us if we let Him.  As we go through pain, if we follow His lead, we can grow in the midst of it.  We can come out on the other side with a better understanding of mercy, with more empathy.

The other day as we pulled into the hospital park lot, my daughter (who still needs to learn patience) was complaining about the SUV in front of us.  She was anxious to get up to the 2nd floor and love on her baby, and this car was too slow, and in the way.  She spouted off something negative and I found myself right smack dab in the middle of a teaching moment.  I gently reminded her that the person in the car could be arriving at the hospital for the first time with a sick child, or leaving alone, never to bring theirs home.   She got my point and I have noticed her growing in grace through all of this.

So, have patience with me and I will try to have more patience with you.  Forgive me when I say all the wrong things or end up doing nothing because I didn’t know what to do.  As for me, I pray to practice giving people the benefit of the doubt, to recognize that their day might be going worse than mine and to try not to offer up trite, commonplace sentiments when a hug or a prayer might serve them better.


  1. Ronnie Goff says:

    That was chock full Godly wisdom. A big Amen!

  2. Amen to your post and to Ronnie’s comment. Yes, sometimes silence and a hug are best.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

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