It has always been a very challenging and emotionally overwhelming situation for me when my husband travels out of town. I feel very helpless managing both the kids without his support and it just feels like I am a lonely soldier on a battlefield without any weapon.
I understand that it is required of him to travel but staying alone with children with special needs isn’t an easy task. The entire family schedule goes upside down. I am sleep deprived. I hardly get to have a bath or food on time. My 8 years old son’s only friend is his dad and he, being so attached to him, feels lonely and gloomy all the time. His only companion will be the laptop until his dad returns. My daughter on the other hand needs my much attention for her needs and I have to carry her around the house even to get a glass of water for myself when she cries and refuses to stay on the bed by herself.
A couple of weeks ago, he told me that he will be travelling to Kerala ( his native place). So, as I remembered the previous times of me staying alone with kids and the stress that caused for me without him, I felt anxious as always. But thinking specially about this pandemic season where things are very uncertain, with extended days of quarantine, with increasing number of Covid -19 cases in the states of Kerala and Maharashtra, I felt tensed and depressed to the degree that I had an emotional breakdown as I tried to make him understand my challenges with kids without him.
I wanted him to have a glimpse of my mental state. I wanted him to feel my feelings but it seemed like he wasn’t able to fully grasp the intensity of my emotional pain and what concerned me deeply didn’t seem to concern him the way I hoped. While I was right in my place, he was right in his place too….
Have you ever faced a situation when you tried to make someone understand how you felt but wondered why they couldn’t get you fully? When you wanted them to see your pain and feel the depth of your anxiety but all you got back was coldness? When you wanted them to know your burdens but they only could understand you to some extent?
Did you know Jesus felt the same way?
His pain was much more intense than we humans can truly fathom. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He felt lonely, He felt anxious as the hour of His crucifixion was nearing. He wanted His disciples to know how He felt. He shared His feelings with them saying, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Even though His disciples too were sorrowful for Jesus’s crucifixion, they didn’t feel the same intensity of His distress, because it was Jesus who was to face death not His disciples. Do you get me?
We read in Mathews 26: 36-45 that each time Jesus returned after praying, He found them sleeping. This must have pained Jesus’s heart even more to not have the support of his disciples in His intense pain. We read that the second time Jesus sees them sleeping, he leaves them, goes away and prays to the Father to take away His cup of suffering but is also willing to surrender to the Father’s will.
So what do you do when others can’t feel the intensity of your pain, when they don’t understand how you feel?
You understand them.
Instead of lashing out at them just let them sleep. In other words, you tell them that you can understand that they can’t fully understand.
Remember that while people with good intentions will be very supportive and sympathising with you, you are the only person who can feel the intensity of your pain. Nobody else can.
Instead of imposing your will on them and trying to force them to feel the way you feel, just know that they can only see your pain through their level of understanding and perception.
Remember that when people close to you fail to understand the depth of your feelings, it doesn’t mean they are insensitive or unloving. It just means they really can’t understand, because no one else knows what one thinks in their minds. When we share our feelings, they are merely the shallow expressions of our much deeper pain and fears which people aren’t able to fully grasp, because the real problem always lies buried inside.
While expressing your feelings is a sign of strength and not a weakness, give some grace to others when they fail to fully get your point.
Instead of only holding on to your anxious feelings, find ways to lift yourself up.
Fill your mind with more positive and assuring thoughts to replace the hard feelings.
And when you think what you go through is beyond your ability to bear, do what Jesus did. Strengthen yourself in God’s strength, carry your cross, face your death and conquer your grave.