rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep

karyn {2}

karyn {4}

karyn {1}

karyn {3}

karyn {5}

this is one of only two roommates i ever had. she is very special to me {and beautiful, no?}. to my recollection, i've never written about her on this blog but i should have. not only was she my roomie for a couple of years right out of college, but she has remained a close friend since. we have lost touch from time to time, even though we only live a couple of towns away from each other. but for the most part, we have remained close.

the best memories i have of her are from when we get together with two other girlfriends for our "fearsome foursome" brunch dates. we used to have them more often, but now we have them less and less... kids, life and general busyness just started to eat up our free time. but we have one sort of in the plans now, as there is a new reason for us all to get together to celebrate... my pregnancy!

they each know about my pregnancy already, and each has celebrated with me privately. but it's time again for another get together... we like to meet up and chat and have breakfast when one of us has reached a sort of mile stone.

it's so good to have friends to celebrate life with. and that is why i write today. i've been thinking a lot lately about the verse,

{romans 12:15}
"rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep."

i can easily rejoice with others when they have something to celebrate. and i am always happy to share in my joy with friends and family when i am the one who has the celebratory news. but what i've come to discover as i get older is that i need to work on mourning with those who mourn.

it sort of goes back to what i said a few posts back... it's hard to mourn with someone over something we do not understand. before i had a difficult time getting pregnant, i had no compassion for others who had that same struggle. but now, i understand immensely. and it is very easy for me to feel their pain. still, am i weeping with them? i should be. of course, not necessarily literally all the time. but am i in spirit?

perhaps it easier to do in a group setting... i think of one of the other girlfriends in our "fearsome foursome" group... several years back, she lost her first-born son just a few month after he was born. the other three of us rallied around her for tremendous support... collectively, we were all so heart-broken with her and wanted to go through every step of the pain and loss along-side her. but i find it more difficult to be this way for others on my own.

i think this is an area i need to work on in me. i've been going through so many things myself these past few years, that i never take the time to recognize that others very close to me are struggling with things, too. and then when something good happens to me, i expect everyone i know to celebrate equally. that is an okay thing to hope for. but i also have to remember the verse has two sides to it.

that said, i have had many who have both rejoiced and wept with me over the past many months. and i am very grateful. and it is time for me to start learning to be the same... celebrate AND weep equally with others. step aside from my own joy and heartache for a time, to be there for others in their joy and heartache.

this was brought greatly to my attention through many things these past few months. but especially within the last few days... as a result of figuring out i have been selfish with my current best friend... not realizing how one-sided i have made the relationship. she has been with me in ALL of my joy and pain {for years}, but in my depression, i neglected to be there for hers.

also, my best friend from college informed me within the past few days that the adoption that was all ready to take place fell through when, hours after the biological mother gave birth, she changed her mind and decided to keep the baby. my friend and her husband had named her with their last name already... and probably had the entire house ready for her arrival. i know my friend is heart-broken beyond belief. i could not even believe my eyes when i read the news. she can scarcely even speak right now, but found enough strength to e-mail those close to her and share the news... as we were all anticipating this new baby to be going home with her family very soon. i wept in my spirit for her all night and all morning long after i heard.

the last thing that recently really made me stop and think {and want to mourn with others who mourn} was learning of the passing of a very close family member to the friend i pictured above. i had written about her sister's health last year, and some of you were praying. but the sister lost her battle against the illnesses she had, and just days after these photos were taken of my friend {as we sat and shared a lunch together}, her sister passed. though we knew it was coming, it was still terribly sad.

the older we get, the more heartache we see... or maybe it's just the more we notice. but either way, it should make us compassionate, not calloused. sometimes, we can turn a blind eye to pain without knowing it, because it is too hard to watch or deal with. but even if i have to mourn every day for the rest of my life, side-by-side with friends who are experiencing such pain, i want to do it. just as i want to rejoice when they rejoice, too.

this is something i want God to perfect in me. because i know it is something i lack greatly... both in the rejoicing and weeping department, but especially in the latter. i want to take my eyes off of my own problems long enough to see that others are having difficult times in their lives... and take it even another step further... find out what i can do to ease their pain. even if it is just to pray.

it's such a short and simple verse. and it seems so easy to do. but i think it holds powerful and important instruction that should be heeded. it's there for a reason. and i want to be found obeying it.

{today and tomorrow, i get together with my twin sister and a dear friend we have known since sixth grade... we've been singing in three-part harmony with her since then, too. i know their will be laughter and singing... two forms of rejoicing. but i also know full-well that each has some degree of pain and hardship in their lives. so this will be a good opportunity for me to practice sharing in both... for me to stop talking about myself, and listen and care and pray. i go into it praying that God would help me practice and perfect this.}


beth said...

i think as we get older, we finally see things in a new light about ourselves...even the bed stuff.

it's not always easy to change. but we know we must.

and you will continue to change again. once baby b is here. being a parent opens your eyes to whole new world.

my prayers go out today to your friend and her family.

Lisa said...

I can totally relate to this. I often have my eyes so firmly placed on myself that I don't notice what's going on with others. I don't like this about myself and am definitely trying to change it! Anyway. Lovely post today with some very deep thoughts. <3

margie said...

i have only ever had one roommate. we lived together for many years, through school and then later until i left to be married. she was my maid of honour, she moved away, we lost touch, my husband passed away eleven years ago, she and i saw each other again at a party a few years ago and now i am with her brother, these past five years. sometimes those friends never leave.

Stacey said...

Such true words, friend. Your posts always make me think and reflect and that's what I love about them.

Have a wonderful time with your sister and your friend. I'm off for a little getaway of my own so I'll catch up with you again sometime later next week.


Jenny Schouten Short said...

Cherish your girlfriends. Celebrate them.

Angela H. said...

Give Karen my love. She's a beautiful woman.