Tuesday, July 2, 2013

When The Math Just Doesn't Add Up

Years ago, I had a friend who had been married for several years and had tried to get pregnant several times but to her heartbreak, she was not successful.  When I became pregnant with my first son, my husband and I were bursting at the seams with joy, but for many weeks, I didn’t tell my friend because I really didn’t know how I was going to do that without hurting her.  However, I knew that if I didn’t tell her soon she might find out some other way and then she’d probably be hurt that I didn’t tell her right away.

So one evening I told her as gently as I could and at first, for a brief nano second, I saw the sting of pain in her eyes, but what she did next surprised me and taught me something about joy and sorrow that I’ve never forgotten.  She was genuinely happy for us and was the one whom a couple of days after I was home alone from the hospital with our new baby, came to our apartment (from quite a distance) to clean, launder, cook and serve me hand and foot.

You see, my wise friend knew something I did not at the time.  Joy is mathematically illogical; when you share it, it doesn’t diminish, it is multiplied!  Remember the saying, “the more the merrier”?

So here’s where it gets even more mathematically illogical, are you ready?  If sharing joy is easily multiplied, the opposite should also be true; sharing one’s sorrow would do the same, right?  Well, that’s where one would be wrong.  Sharing in someone else’s pain actually diminishes it for the person who is sorrowful.  Think about it, when you’ve been in pain and shared it with another person who was good at listening and validated your sorrow, didn’t it diminish the pain?  It always helps when we can share a burden with another.

Now imagine this, if someone shares their sorrow with you and you subtract some of their burden, you can turn around with an encouraging word or share with them some source of joy, and now you’ve not just added some joy to their situation, you’ve multiplied it!

I usually get very frustrated when math doesn’t make sense to me (and very frequently, higher math just doesn’t!), but in this case, I’m sure glad it doesn’t!  The point is this: Don’t ever be afraid of sharing.  When someone shares with you, listen, validate, and encourage.  In every situation, find more joy and multiply it!

Oh, and as for my friend, she did end up having her first son about a year after me…..and then a couple years later a daughter followed!  Joy multiplied!

-Tessa Charles

1 comment:

  1. This is really a beautiful TLC, for that is the secret to a fulfilled life. To live as Jesus lived by giving of the inside self. That means not just the lovely acts which we can do or not do mechanically, but the acts that come from the inside of our beings. That take extra love to overcome hurt or disappoint in that situation or person but acts done because love says it's simply the loving and right thing to do .