Not you again.
I love proverbs. They are short, concise pieces of wisdom that I can remember. I used to joke in elementary school, “Confucius say…” I don’t think I knew who Confucius was but I knew he said stuff. I believe around the time Confucius died, Sophocles, a writer of Ancient Greek tragedies, lived. If you read his material he could be considered the inventor of modern support groups.
Now social media has MEMES and I love those suckers too. Except for when I hate them, they can dupe you. The type that I call “sound bite theology” are my least favorite. Little bits of advice that don’t quite cover the whole story. Just like analogies and metaphors, most will fall apart at some point.
The other day a good friend made an excellent point on one I posted. “If you are struggling and your people are just watching you struggle, they aren’t your people.” So very true on one hand, but not so much if the watchers have already gone above and beyond and there is nothing left for them to do. In some situations it is necessary to keep a distance from a struggler so as not to be taken down by the proverbial drowning man. Other circumstances, there is nothing to “do,” as someone makes their way, but there are ways to be supportive. I guess that was the main point of the MEME, drop anyone who can’t be supportive. Agreed.
Here’s a simple way to look at it. Say you are a smoker or have a food addiction. (I’ve been in and out of these two so can speak to them.) Basically, unless you are an ignorant child, no amount of healthy living articles, spoken warnings, or sad looks, are beneficial. Addicts, in my opinion, have places of pain that we treat in unhealthy ways. If you can look at it that way, consider acting towards us the same way you do when someone tells you they have a physical injury. Throw some love their way as you watch. Encourage them in the things in their life that they are rocking. View them as the valuable yet imperfect creatures we all are. A friend of mine that has been heavy in her life told me once, “I’m fat, not stupid, why is that so hard for people to understand?” I remember telling my boss one time, as she informed me that smoking would cause premature wrinkles, “I don’t plead ignorance.” Meaning, “no shit, Sherlock.”
You see, we addicts tend to injure ourselves when we don’t know how to handle strong emotion. Maybe ya’ll could give us a break because we never wish harm on anyone else? Makes me think of Buddha’s MEME, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Oh yeah, I know that one.
There is much debate about the dates of biblical writers but I agree with the poet who said,
“What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV
“Hide nothing, for time, which sees all and hears all, exposes all.” Sophocles