I remember many years ago encountering someone in a Bible Study who really annoyed me for a peculiar reason. It seemed that whenever someone shared about a trial they were going through that person claimed to have faced it and had a story to tell. I did not believe it was possible for one person to have experienced all of those things so I rather thought she was a liar or had some kind of weird problem.
Last year I was in a different Bible Study when it dawned on me that I had become that annoying person. The strange thing was, everything anyone was going through either I or my husband (or both!) had been through. Gall bladder, appendicitis, herniated disk, back surgery, cancer, pregnancy problems... you name it. Any time someone began sharing about an issue they or a family member or friend was going through I was saying something like "Oh, I know how that is. When that happened to me..." I realized one day (or at least it felt as if) everyone was looking at me and thinking "Sure she knows about that. That woman is either a liar or has some kind of weird problem." If you know me, you know that in fact Eric and I have experienced a litany of medical issues. Add in to that personal issues that I will not name in this potentially public forum and things faced by extended family members and I feel like there isn't much that I haven't experienced!
But there is this one thing: death of a loved one. I have been thinking this week that I am 47 years old and I have not yet lost anyone close to me. (I hope that continues to be the case for a long, long time.)
This weekend Anna and I will be attending a memorial service for the father of one of her friends (and the husband of one of my friends.) This 9 year old girl has lost her father. I cannot comprehend that. It seems wrong. Very, very wrong. And yet, she is not alone in her experience. Others (MANY others) know what she is going through. Just not me. And for that (my lack of experience) I am very grateful.