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  • Alane Stanton

Don't Pity Me

The look:

A quick glance then turn away.

The lingering look with puppy dog eyes that looks like a best childhood friend just moved away.

The head nodding side to side while dabbing the corner of the eyes.


The words:

Oh bless your heart.

I'm soooo sorry you're going through this.

Is there anything I can do?


YES! Stop it!


After my son passed away, many well-meaning folks would give me that quick glance, then turn away. Others would give me a look with the saddest eyes ever, to the point that even if I was in a good mood at the moment, it would shatter. The sad looks made me want to cry.


And the words ... I've already discussed some to a certain extent in a previous post entitled, "Say What?!?" But the words to which I am now referring are those of pity. Pity is easy, especially in The South where I live. "Oh honey, bless your sweet heart." (said in my best Southern drawl)


Do I appreciate the sentiment offered in the looks and the words? Certainly! Do I know you mean well? Of course! But is it what I crave to see, hear, or feel? No. Pity from others makes me uncomfortable.


Now don't get me wrong. I am Queen of The Pity Party. I used to throw myself one on a regular basis. No balloon decorations or cake was served, but healthy servings of Whine and Woe Is Me. There would be days of sitting on the sofa in my pajamas, NOT showering, feeling utterly sorry for myself for EVERYTHING I had gone through. All the while asking, "Why me?"


I looked at those parties as my own little gatherings of me, myself, and I. (Like anyone else would want to come anyway!) So I wallowed in self-pity until I would somehow snap out of it. At least, until the next time one was scheduled. Or not. There were a few spontaneous soirées. Oh, who am I kidding? There is nothing glamorous whatsoever about a pity party!


Pity parties are parties for one. Lonely, self-deprecating, and unhealthy. I don't like them and don't want to attend anymore. Thus the reason for this post! When someone looks or speaks to me out of pity, I go to that place where I'm sitting on my sofa alone, stinky from lack of bathing, and feeling sorry for myself.


So here's what I propose...


Don't look at the "divorcee."

Don't look at the "poor woman who lost her child."


Instead ... LOOK!

Look at the woman who knows she is NOT walking alone.

Look at the no-longer sofa sitting sister who stood up!

Look at the incredibly brave woman who is putting one foot in front of the other.

Look at the woman who nearly drowned in her own tears, but found the life-preserver.

Look at the woman who fought many battles, endured her losses, but came out as a WARRIOR!


SEE HER!


Do NOT speak words of pity.


Instead ... SPEAK!

Speak Encouragement.

Speak Affirmation

Speak Love.

Speak Life!


While this is my personal story, it is also the story of so many others. Pity can have negative connotations attached, and sometimes it is not received in the vein in which it was given. BUT it is seen and heard. Pity doesn't always show a sense of empathy towards the situation of a person and can be condescending. Compassion, however, is a feeling which shows empathy and is followed by a feeling of love and care. Compassion, mercy, and grace are so much more productive than pity ... for pity's sake.


I encourage all of my readers, myself included, to TRULY SEE ONE ANOTHER. Not only see what the other has been through, but see the tremendous progress that is being made. Yes, there will always be some people who thrive on pity and attention, but that is a small minority. The rest of us need encouragement, seek to be inspired, appreciate every kindness, and just want to be seen for who we are. (Present tense!)


Let's see our friend who has walked through fire and but came out on the other side.

Let's see our sister/brother who has been to hell and back and is still thanking God for her/his blessings.

Let's see the neighbor who lost it all in a storm, but still finds his voice to sing.

Let's see the victories won after a long, hard-fought battle.

Let's celebrate one another and leave the pity parties early.


I mean it!


Metaphorically speaking, I have walked through fire, been to hell and back, and lost it all in a storm, but look at me! Look at the crazy, joyful, thankful, blessed, a bit battle scarred, but still singing girl that God has made of me!


BECAUSE OF GOD ...


I am a Warrior. I am an Overcomer. I am Joyful. I have Peace. I am Blessed Beyond Measure. I am a Daughter of The King! I know from whom my help, strength, joy, peace, and blessings come. I can do nothing on my own, even though I have attempted it in the past. (And most likely will again in the future, until I fail, let go, and allow Him do His thing without my help.) God is my Rock, my Redeemer, my Protector, and in Him I can do all things.


I began writing this post while sitting in a swing, swaying in a warm breeze, looking out over a lagoon beside the Gulf. The song playing in my mind the entire time was "It Is Well with My Soul" written by Horatio Spafford. Mr. Spafford lost five children, one to scarlet fever and four in a shipwreck, but still penned the words:


"When peace like a river attendeth my way.

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say

It is well, it is well with my soul."


Divorce crushed me, and my son's death has changed my life forever. But, I am still singing.


Therefore ... Don't Pity Me ... for It Is Well with My Soul.


________________________


"I can do ALL things through Christ Jesus who give me strength." - Philippians 4:13


"We praise the ones who endured the most. you remember how patient Job was and how the Lord finally helped him. The Lord did this because He is so merciful and kind." - James 5:11


"Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." - Colossians 4:6


"Encourage one another and build one another up." - I Thessalonians 5:11


"I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong - that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith." - Romans 1:11-12







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