Susceptible to Comfort

By Jamie Wiechman

A friend of mine called me yesterday – struggling. I was so proud of her for admitting that she wasn’t doing fine (it’s tough to ask for help in the best of times), and I felt honored that she reached out to me. We both felt encouraged by the end of the call.

It’s odd to me how I can be so pleased with someone else for doing something I’m not willing to admit I need myself.

Like I said, I was proud of my friend for asking for help and was feeling satisfied by my connection with her, so it caught me off guard as I was scrolling Facebook today and found myself choked up by someone’s post. The post basically said that we’re going to be okay, which I also believe, and have been saying to other people every chance I can find.

Why then did I tear up when a generic Facebook post told me I was going to get through this? Weird.

I could have blown past the post and the eye watering (and no one would have blamed me), but since I have plenty of time on my hands right now, I decided to pause and wonder about it. I found myself curious: why did it strike an emotional nerve with me? I could be wrong about this, but by my best deduction, I wasn’t feeling okay.

Maybe you’re not feeling okay either… or maybe you feel fine most of the time and are surprised by an odd emotional response… or maybe you’re fine and everyone else around you is the problem (although you might want to take a moment to ponder that unlikelihood…).

To be fair, though, sometimes we are not ready to admit that all the crazy is taking a toll. Or maybe we’ve already pondered, ranted, and cried more in the last two weeks than we have in the last year and are ready to do something else. I feel you.

Somehow, I felt that I should have been okay. I might have even felt wimpy for being susceptible to words of comfort.

Did I really just write, “susceptible to words of comfort”? Is that a thing?

This whole pandemic situation is making me feel susceptible. Susceptible to germs, panic shopping, boredom, financial concerns, relational weariness, and so on. Maybe it’s a blessing to find myself vulnerable to something good – something that helps me release some of that tension that keeps building up in my chest and pressing down on my shoulders.

That pain that I was storing on the inside was searching for a way out. Looking back to the hours before reading that post, I now see that the building pressure was already making itself known.

Now that I think of it, two of my kids had mentioned to me in the past 24 hours that they had hardly seen me at all lately, which you know is quite an accomplishment in our quarantined situation. One of the things I have discovered about myself in recent years is that the more I hurt, the more I withdraw. Hmm…

According to my personal pattern, the next step would have been to start getting snippy with my husband (sorry, babe). Then I’d become very interested in how recently all my kids had showered, brushed their teeth, taken out the trash, etc. (When Mama ain’t happy…) Then I would turn the criticism inward and start ripping myself to shreds about all the things I should be doing better. That’s when it gets really bad. That’s when it’s hard to recover from.

At this moment, maybe my entire family can breathe a sigh of relief for what was avoided. And all because I received a kindness that released a few tears that I didn’t even know I was holding in.

I love that my friend asked for help.

And I love that I received help before I even knew to ask.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels. Jamie Wiechman was recently a guest on the Next Step Podcast. You can find that interview here.

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