I’ve written plenty on how to comfort others in difficult situations. There is always plenty to say on that topic simply because most people mean well. They really do want to lift the burden of hurting friends and family.
Then there are those situations that are just awkward or new. Humans are a curious bunch so they ask questions.
There are two areas of my life where inquiries have been unintentionally hurtful or at the very least, uncomfortable: Adoption and disabilities.
Of course when you add that we adopted a child who has multiple disabilities, the conversations go from strange to “I’m going to have to write a blog post about this one.”
A couple of weeks ago, we went through the familiar drill. It happens often when someone meets Allison.
There are the inevitable questions about her disabilities.
When they found out about her adoption I heard, “Do you have children of your own?”
While I know what he really wondered was, “Do you also have biological children?” – the former question sounds like we are just borrowing her.
And then the question that is number one regarding What Not to Say to an Adoptive Parent is: “What happened to her real mom?”
I’ll admit it – I did my best to hide my cringing mommy heart. Along with it my need to correct was suppressed.
The timing really couldn’t have been better.
As much as I’ve talked about the need to be sensitive, I’m realizing the beauty of grace.
The ability to accept hurtful comments with strength and mercy are more important than hearing the right things.
This is how we grow in grace. This is how we discover peace. This is how we move through life cherishing others.
We accept their humanness, flaws and need for the same love we desire.
So as we move through our trials, when we face the dark days, know this: humans will take steps on wobbly legs.
They’ll try to make sense of the things that nobody really understands and more than anything, they will show that they care with what they have.
They’ll ask questions we’d rather not answer and cook food we won’t eat.
In the end, we embrace the fact that someone cared to speak up, to try, to reach out and to love. When we are at the bottom, sometimes we need to take whatever we can to start stepping up.