On Saturday Laurel fell off a tall slide ladder and broke her left arm and leg.
They weren’t severe breaks, and she’s not in a lot of pain, but the cast and sling are uncomfortable. We’ve managed to keep her occupied with playdough and other amusements, but she does make a pretty sad sight.
Last night, David said “Poor Laurel.” I know I’ve said that, too, but this time it hit me that it’s not really poor Laurel. She was and is in God’s care, and her accident is just as much a part of God’s plan as Lee’s deployment. This is what I told David, and I asked my other family not to say “Poor Laurel” or other equivalent phrases in her hearing.
Truthfully, it’s hard for me not to feel sorry for her. It’s also hard to balance being compassionate without being a emotionally driven. Why, then, would God allow it? I’m really not sure, but I do know that Laurel’s been spending a lot of time with her Grandpa, and that is a good thing. I’m sure there’s more.
Barbara H. says
I don’t think it is wrong to sympathize with someone’s pain or discomfort, even though what they are experiencing is God’s plan.
Diane Heeney says
I think there is a balance. I instruct my kids to learn from difficulty, but I also sympathize with them in the same way that the Savior had compassion on so many.
Well, as I read the first two paragraphs of your post, I was thinking, “Poor Laurel!” 🙂 I’ll have to think some more about whether I think it’s communicating a wrong view of God’s sovereignty or whether it is just communicating compassion for one you love. Hmmmmmm…….(scratches head….)
Lyn Marshall says
I’m sorry to hear this! We’ll be praying for Laurel to heal well and for you to have wisdom and grace in caring for her. (As the mother of a former walking-disaster toddler, I know that these childhood accidents can be pretty hard on mom, too!)
Hi All! I don’t think it’s wrong to sympathize. My question is whether “poor Laurel” goes beyond sympathizing. The constant gushing by every person we pass communicates that an infirmity or disability is something of far greater significance or tragedy than it really is. Instead, an infirmity is an opportunity to magnify the creator. Maybe I should instead think of ways to do that.
Barbara H. says
Michelle, I came back to apologize — I was catching up with my Google Reader while waiting to go to an appointment, and made a quick comment, when I should’ve waited til I had time for a more thoughtful one.
I can understand the need for balance. I don’t think “Poor Laurel” in itself goes beyond sympathizing, but I can see that when it is heard over and over, it can make the child feel inordinately sorry for herself.
Dr. Walt Fremont wrote something in one of his books (Formula for Family Unity, I think) dealing with this kind of thing. In his scenario a son had a paper route on a bitterly cold winter day, and he showed one way a mother could over-sympathize til the son ended up feeling overly sorry for himself, and another way in which she encouraged him and promised to have a cup of hot chocolate waiting when he got back, showing she understood but she was promoting facing the task bravely. I’d have to look up the passage to remember exactly what she said in each case, but I remember that standing out to me.
Barbara— I think I knew what you were trying to say, and I appreciate your caution. I figured I hadn’t communicated well, and I think your thoughts from Dr. Fremont help clarify for me part of my concern. Thanks for sharing.