Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Frame of Reference Is All I Have

"It is true that the child’s stubbed toe might not be that big of a deal, and by extension that all our mortal trials are but a small moment, but I do not think that means we should devalue the struggle. I have a tendency to beat up on myself when I find things hard. “This should be easy” I tell myself, or “this isn’t really such a big deal, compared with the trials of others.” Well, it may be a small frame of reference, but it is my frame of reference, and it is all I have.

In the big picture, my pain may be small, but that doesn’t make it any less valid or any less painful. A person with a broken foot is still suffering, even if someone on the other side of the world just saw their family killed and walked miles and almost died of starvation. I think it is not a useful exercise to compare pain or trials in that way, but to feel true compassion for all who are in pain."

Comment #16 by Silver Rain on Trials - Stephen Marsh (Mormon Matters)


Anonymous said...

good post today...It reminds me of a discussion I recently had with my husband. Our daughter was upset by something, and I went to talk to her. She explained, "Sometimes life is hard when you're four."

It was kind of funny - given my frame of reference. I told my husband, and he was concerned - because life isn't all that hard when you're four.

However, I countered, it doesn't feel hard to us know, but a four-year-old's struggles feel very hard to a four year old.

Anyways - thanks for the reminder. I think that when we keep in mind frame of reference it is easier to be empathetic to others even if we haven't experienced what they experience because we can think of how deeply our own difficulties affect us.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking today that my trials are but a moment in eternity,that they really do not matter in the scheme of things,that I should simply rest assured that this too will pass.

But,if we all did that,then where would we be?There would be no anti biotics,no pain killers.There would be no education,no agriculture.It seems we have to feel our pain and be at some level outraged by it in order to be moved to change the human condition.

I live with this dilemma,I don't know how to solve it.

The drowning man does not say to himself,"It's OK it will all be over soon". He fights for life,and it is functional in terms of the survivial of the species to do so.I guess that leaves us poor dear human beings in the eternal now.

The spiritual insight I had yesterday really does not seem to have travelled as far as today.My reconcilement with God and with human suffering lasts for only moments,then has to be repeated.

And I suppose that leaves us very much in need of each other's love and understanding.

Carol said...

I really like this post. I think we also need to be reminded occasionally that even though a trial may not be hard for us, it may be overwhelming for another, and visa versa. Your post inspires me to be less quick to judge and more merciful. Thanks for the wisdom!