“I put my husband in charge of our grocery order today, knowing full well that meant we’d end up with a few extra items we didn’t really need. Sure enough, when I got the notification our groceries had been left outside our door, I found a couple packs of soda, some chips, and two cartons of ice cream (because my husband couldn’t decide on just one flavor).
He’d actually told me he ordered the ice cream, so that wasn’t a surprise. He’s been craving it the past few days and I had no problem with him getting some. But it was a surprise to find two little pint sized ice cream cartons instead of the regular sized cartons we usually get. I immediately knew this had to have been some kind of mistake. My husband is not one to hold back or go light when indulging himself.
I chuckled, knowing my husband and picturing the eagerness with which he decided to splurge on TWO large cartons of ice cream, thinking he was going to have a tasty treat to enjoy for days and not paying any attention to the price or the item descriptions. Sure enough, after double checking the order details, I confirmed it was not a mistake on the part of the shopper, but my sweet husband who is known for being a little spacy at times. (He also found the paper towels he thought he’d selected were actually toilet paper rolls… also clearly stated in the item description.)
He was quite disappointed upon discovering his ice cream error, and frustrated he hadn’t gotten what he was expecting. It wasn’t even half the amount he was anticipating. I teased him quite a bit and gave him grief since it was his own doing, but we’ve all been there. Ordered something we thought was an amazing deal, only to realize it was a miniature version. Purchased something we thought was going to last us awhile, just for it to break within a week. Bought something we’d set our hearts on, only to find it didn’t live up to the expectation we’d built up in our mind.
And it got me thinking… how often do we give people grief or withhold our sympathy when it comes to the big things? Because we deem the difficulty of someone’s current situation their own doing? I’ve often felt like I couldn’t discuss the hardships my husband and I have faced due to his severe mental illness because, ‘I knew what I was getting into when I married him.’ I frequently see new moms forcing a smile, trying to mask the overwhelming exhaustion, not wanting to admit to feelings of crushing self doubt because, ‘You wanted this baby.’
The couple who chose to have a lot of children, the family who decided to do foster care, the mom who elected to stay home or return to work, the parent who chose to homeschool, the young woman who discovered she was unexpectedly expecting…
There are so many instances in which we find ourselves struggling to manage the load we bear, or not getting exactly what we’d bargained for. Because sometimes we just don’t know until we’ve been there. Sometimes, we might be so eager and focused on the picture in our heads we fail to notice the red flags, read the fine print, or look at the details of a decision. Sometimes we’re hoping for the best, but the worst case scenario occurs instead. Sometimes, we change our minds because life changes, circumstances change, and we evolve.
And sometimes… life goes as planned and the results of our decisions are exactly as to be expected. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s challenging and everyone needs a listening ear and a shoulder they can cry on. Isn’t the right thing often the hard thing to do? The road less traveled the most rewarding?
Whatever the case may be, we should all be able to express our frustrations and share our difficulties and be met with love, compassion, and kindness. Life is HARD, and withholding sympathy and passing judgement teaches nothing. Next time you think to yourself, ‘Well, they got themselves into this mess,’ or ‘What were they expecting?,’ try to extend grace instead. Because we’ve all been there in one way or another, or we soon will be. And it’s so much easier to move through trying times when we feel loved and supported.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Connected In The Deep. You can read more from them on their blog. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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