Saturday, June 2, 2012

Open the Door

Last week a friend shared with me an experience that I learned a lot from and so I thought I'd share it with you. About twenty years ago my friend was going through a trying experience with a child and eventually the child married outside the temple. I won’t go into all the details, but my friend was very hurt and experienced all the feelings we go through in situations like this—feelings of self-doubt and failure and worry for the child. She became depressed over the things that were happening and felt very alone and abandoned by those around her, she prayed that someone would reach out to her, someone who she could confide in and someone who would help her though the ordeal, but instead of comforting her people seemed to avoid her. She described it as one of the worst times of her life. But it turned out well. Eventually she pulled out of the depression, and the couple was sealed in the temple. They now have seven beautiful children and are doing well.

Now for the learning part. Last week my friend went to lunch with a woman who was a close friend of hers before and during those trying years. During the lunch the woman brought up that long ago wedding and explained that while she was well over it now, but she had been very hurt that she had not been invited to the wedding, especially when she found out that someone who wasn’t as close of a friend had been invited. She then said that she was also hurt that my friend had pulled away from her during that time.

My friend said she was so shocked she couldn’t respond. First of all the person invited was not invited because she was a friend but because she was the child's employer. She was the only non-family member invited to the wedding. She also remembered the prayers, the nights she cried herself to sleep, how she had yearned for someone she could talk to, someone who would assure her and comfort her through the experience. And here was a person who could have done that, but instead she had taken offense because she wasn’t invited to the wedding.

“As she explained her feelings,” my friend said, “I realized I must have appeared to pull away from her and others. Part of the reason I didn’t get the comfort I needed was my own fault. At the time, I felt ashamed and afraid to reach out for fear of others’ reactions. But the thing that stunned me most as she explained all of this is that she never once reached out to me. Since that conversation with her, I’ve looked back on my own life and wondered how many times when someone needed me I turned away because of some petty offence or because I felt them pulling away. I wish I’d learned this sooner, but I now realize that often when people appear to close the door to us is the very time we need to knock and let ourselves in.”


Camille said...

I really like that. Thank you!

runningfan said...

I really needed to hear this tonight. Thank you. :)