my problem spectrum is way jacked up. or completely acceptable.

(I'm secretly writing this post to detract attention away from Caroline and the cruise. Shhhhhhhhh. Kidding. I love my family.)

No, but actually..I was thinking about a lot of things today and one of them being this issue I notice I'm having.......and I think it's normal but I also don't want certain aspects of it to stay.

Let me explain.

Because we've just been through something traumatic, I find myself becoming extremely judgmental of people who complain about their problems (albeit on facebook, in person, wherever) because in my head all I can really think about is "Are you kidding me? You're complaining to me about your grocery store experience? My child just died. Would you like to switch problems?"

I don't like myself when I do this.

So on the one hand, it's like...
I don't want ANYBODY to go through what we've been through. Nobody. Ever. It's not everyone else's fault that their "spectrum" of stress or problems is more narrow than mine. If you've never been through anything traumatic...then yeah, I bet it WAS really stressful when that car pulled out in front of you and flicked you off or that your manager had to be more constructive than usual about your work. Who am I to downplay other peoples' problems just because I'm semi-emotionally numb and literally you could probably walk up to me and punch me in the face it's not really going to bother me because, well, shoot.......nothing can compare on my "horrible things" scale to losing Ellie.

And then on the other hand it's like..
No. I can't actually pretend to care that your spouse forgot to pay the phone bill and now your phone is shut off. Because that's not a freaking problem [because remember that time that none of your children died?] [see the judgment.]

So the problem is that I absolutely don't want to lose the ability to be empathetic with others. I think that empathy is wildly important in relationships. But I also don't want to over-emphasize stupid problems that aren't even problems. Where's the line?

You know people that have been to like every single third world country ever and they make you feel straight up evil if you leave a crumb of food on your plate because OTHERKIDSCANTEVENEAT. I don't want to be that person.

I don't want to tell everyone to shutupbecauseyourlifeisactuallygoinggreat.

And I also don't want to let people waste precious minutes or hours of their lives complaining about crap that doesn't matter because I'm sorry I can't help it and I wish I didn't but I really DO know the value of life and the pain of tragedy and the silliness of worrying about things not worth worrying about. Don't you wish people could just feel that without actually feeling that?

Seriously. I know that this is why my parents are so chill about things. They know what it's like. It seems that I used to call them with things that I thought were huge problems at the time and they just never even get worked up and it's awesome. They still know how to relate, though. Part of that is just wisdom, I think.

I want to get upset about things that deserve to get upset about. I want to be moved to action to help people in need. I want to be kind and gentle and compassionate towards my friends and family and strangers. I just don't want to encourage foolish and ignorant conversations and debates and issues.

I want to hear about what you're going through. I do.
I'm admitting that this is a struggle of mine right now.

Someone close to me made a good point, that "pain and frustration on any level is a burden and we have to help others carry it." I agree with that. That's exactly what I'm wrestling with. But what I'm also thinking through is the idea that I play a part in allowing certain things to and to not burden me...especially trivial things. Do we still need to love each other through them? Yes. But we have some control.

My question is not if we should overlook any kind of pain or frustration or to decide if it is "worthy" enough or not of attention. My real question is if we can help one another to put day to day pains and frustrations on a more eternal scale.