"God must have someone better for you."
I wish I had never spoken these shallow words to a friend whose husband had just left her and her children for another woman. I could kick myself in the stomach for being so insensitive. If I could go back in time, I would. I can still hear how her voice cracked when she mustered up what strength she had left to answer me, "I do not want someone better. I want my husband".
It was not my job to redeem my friend's tragedy by offering her a reason for it. But this is what we do, isn't it? This is what we offer to the friend who undeservingly suffers pain. Their brokenness makes us feel uneasy and so we attempt to fix it with a cheap imitation of redemption.
We are not called to be redeemers. There is only One who can redeem. We are, however, called to be carriers.
"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
We are called to help carry the burden of the tragedy. What does this look like? It means that we walk at the pace, shoulder to shoulder, with the friend who has suffered the tragedy. A friend has lost their baby. After a few months, she mentions to you that she is ready to take down the crib. You do not question her timing. You do not say, "Don't you want to leave the crib in case you get pregnant again?" You simply reach out your hand and say, "Would you like my help?"
Many times I get an emails or text messages asking, "My friend has gone through a tragedy. What should I do?"
I almost always answer back, "Mourn with her."
"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Romans 12:15
We are not asked to be redeemers. We are asked to be mourners.
What does mourning with a friend look like? It looks like when you are out to dinner with her. She begins to cry about missing her husband who has left her. You do not say, "He is not worth your tears," or "Soon you will meet someone so much better". Instead of speaking, you listen to her. You offer her your napkin to wipe away her tears and you do not hold back your own.
It is not our job to be the redeemers of our friends' tragedy.
It is our job to carry the burden of the tragedy.
It is our job to mourn the pain of the tragedy.
And we can do this.
Noelle is a researcher, speaker, and podcaster. She is the podcast producer/host for Friending Podcast and is a regular co-host for the podcast, Slices of Life. She lives in North Jersey with her hot husband and two wild children. She is a big fan of Constant Comment Tea, the Oscars, and Lesley Knope.
Noelle is passionate about helping women empower women through the art of friendship.