First, I have FIFTY followers! Woohoo, I cannot believe so many of you are interested in my complicated love life. But you make me feel loved. Thank you, thank you.
Believe it or not, I am traveling yet again, this time to the middle of Louisiana to talk about maternal health with a bunch of old ladies. For real, the median age must something like 75. Some of the women in my group are over 80. I am consequently feeling not much older than a zygote. This is an interesting feeling as most of my DC friends are actually a few years younger than my racing-toward-thirty 27-year-old self. Time for me to get over myself--I am a youngin'.
Being in Louisiana right now is an interesting experience to say the least. I have felt awkward being an outsider at times, not sure how to address the oil spill, the aftermath of Katrina, etc. Do you ask questions or not? Fortunately the women are very open. I've talked with several who lost everything in the hurricane and have managed to get their lives back together, which they give God all the praise for. I see the empty seats at the tables, and I hear that this is the lowest turnout for this event ever. Many people just couldn't afford the trip here. Louisiana sure could use a break. In addition to being surrounded by such loss, I'm also going to lectures on the Sudan. It's a real joy fest over here.
When confronted by the overwhelming hurt of the world, I usually feel paralyzed and then guilty for whatever is going on in my own life that's got me upset. Right now it's feeling anxious over what's going on with SCL. Stacy Morrison talked about this in her book. When she was going through her divorce and one of her friends would complain about some ordinary annoyance--a bad meal, a long commute, etc--the friend would apologize and say, "Oh, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have complained. You have it so much worse."
How can we compare pain? Is it only the ones feeling the most severe forms that are allowed to talk about it and to feel it? Surely not. One person's broken leg doesn't alleviate the sting of another person's stubbed toe. The severity doesn't matter. It all hurts. We shouldn't judge ourselves for feeling it, no matter the degree. Our own experiences of pain are as unique as we are, and yet having felt it does help us to connect with others trudging through life's valleys.
So, I will honor where I am--a young woman trying to figure out her life, struggling to love, and wanting to grow. It's quite alright for me to feel pain about my own life. And it sure does't mean that I can't show compassion to others in the process.