not good at being happy with the happy people

That may be a slightly odd title for a blog entry, but there is a point to it. I have a confession to make: I’m much better at weeping with those who are weeping than being happy with those who are happy (Romans 12:15)!

I’ve read several books about the problem of pain and suffering, my favorite being Philip Yancey’s Where Is God When It Hurts that I just finished re-reading, and I know from those books and from my work as a discipleship trainer and counselor that most people struggle with the opposite problem: they don’t know how to mourn with those who are mourning or weep with those who are weeping!

I do feel a bit out of place in this world when it comes to this issue. I really don’t have problems spending time with or talking to friend or foe who is struggling. I have a natural, God-given desire to be there for those people whether they’re looking for long-term communication and relationship or just a hand as they pass through my life. I enjoy conversations about the difficult, complicated questions of life. And quite frankly, I simply don’t know what to do with people where everything is going great…

I have found many people in my life who don’t know what to do with me when I share from the bottom of my heart. My heart and my mind is filled with much confusion and much messiness. That is troubling to many people. They want my problems and questions to be gone, so they don’t have to be bothered by them any more. If we’re honest, that’s most often the reason why we want people to stop hurting in front of us: for the sake of our own peace of mind!

But again, this blog entry is about my own issues, and again, I just don’t know how to be around and have relationship with people where seemingly everything is going the way they want, or they are just very untroubled by the things that are not. I don’t know what to say. I can’t get rid of a nagging thought in the back of my mind suggesting that they’re probably not telling the whole truth….Surely they must be struggling with something! But obviously I don’t know, and it’s not my call to determine whether people are just living in escapism and denial of reality, or if they are just plain, old school happy with their lives. I don’t get anywhere making those judgments.

So, what do I do? How do I learn to be happy with the happy people and rejoice with those who are rejoicing? How can I learn?

I would love to be able to do both. Few people know how to be sad with the sad and cheerful with the cheerful. It’s a very difficult thing to do, apparently. Most people I’ve met swing one way or the other. How do I learn to live in the middle where I believe Christ lives?

I know that Jesus has been teaching me about mercy these past several years. I have learned to not automatically assume that people are terrible, just because they make terrible choices. I have learned to have compassion and understand that people have reasons for what they are doing, even if I don’t agree with them.

So I know Jesus can teach me how to be happy with the happy people. I just don’t know how at this point.

Any thoughts from any of you out there?

Blessings, Torben

1 Response to “not good at being happy with the happy people”

  1. 1 ALIVEalways
    April 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    hey buddy,
    Everyone’s got issues.
    For instance, I’m not good at talking part, you know opening myself up to others, like dancing, or making jokes or involvement.

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