Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What I Think About: When People Say Stupid Stuff

Guess what?

On Facebook I have no filter.  I say exactly what I want to say when I want to say it.  I know, I know.  You're shocked.  Or maybe not.

Anyhow, on Saturday I'm texting with my old college roomie Ami, the one I had the traumatic coffee ice cream making experience with, and we were chatting about the stupid things people say when you are grieving.

You've heard it.

"It's part of God's plan."

"It must be God's will."

"Everything happens for a reason."

"She's in a better place now."

"Let go and let God."

I've heard it.  A lot actually. Because when you are grieving people want to help but don't know how.  So they say something trite and you are supposed to smile and agree when what you really want them to know is that comment just cut you to your freaking core and they've just heaped more pain and burden onto your shoulders than you know how to bear.

So I posted this on facebook:

Life Lesson #122: If you can't support someone who is grieving without talking about "God's will/plan," "God's timing,"  or "Let go and let God" then you shouldn't say ANYTHING.  It's true that people who mean well don't verbalize well.  It's equally true that people who are mourning aren't inspired by your trite responses.  Be wise; be quiet.

To be honest I expected a bit of backlash but you know what I got?  SUPPORT.  A ton of it!  Everyone around me who has experienced loss knew EXACTLY where I was coming from.  It wasn't just me struggling in faith--it was fellow Christians.  A pastor.  People every where saying that in loss it's okay to be hurt.  It's okay to question.  It's okay to want that person on earth and not in heaven.

Funny how one crazy Facebook status can let you know that people really do understand.

As I reflect on what has meant the most to me during this time of loss I know it is the friends who don't treat me differently--who let me talk when I want but don't force the issue.  It's been the meals and childcare.  But the single thing that touched me the most was the beautiful card my friend Carla gave me.  It was blank inside.  She had no words for me.  And that blank card brought me more comfort than she might ever know.

What I think is that when someone is hurting and you want to help, be quiet.  Offer a hand to hold.  A shoulder to cry on.  A meal.  A blank card.  But whatever you do, be quiet.  It'll speak volumes.

Thanks, Shell for letting me Pour My Heart out with you!


  1. I get frustrated when people say that something is God's plan. To me, that doesn't make it any easier to deal with.

    I admit, I suck in situations where a friend is dealing with a loss or any other traumatic event.

    I will tell them that I'm sending prayers(and then yes, right after I say that or type that- I actually do say a prayer) or I offer a hug or if I'm able to, I bring them food(b/c that is something I know how to do).

    Saying that it's God's plan... I don't understand God's plan when something bad is happening, so I feel like it's empty words of comfort.

  2. Well put! In tough times the last thing that you want to hear is that it is part of a master plan.


  3. I remember when Alexander was born. I made a blanket statement - if anyone says, "This is part of God's plan - I will punch them." I didn't want to hear it. You are completely right... people say it for comfort - but it is only a statement of COMFORT when a person can say that about their OWN situation. Then... they find comfort in those words. I also hate, "I understand." Nope. You don't. But I like, "I'm here for you. Anything... just ask."

    Great post - as always.

  4. Well said! Wish more people would stop and think before they open their mouths.


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