Someone recently told me that the online world of baby loss blogging is an unnatural obsession with death. People shouldn't share such intimate details with everyone else. Nor should people be so open to the floods of stories that come pouring in to them. This kind of stuff should be kept quiet because it's your own burden, not one for the people around you.
I've been thinking about it a lot.
I like people. I like stories. I think the stories people share tell a lot about who they are, where they came from, what kind of person they are. And they're just fun to listen to. My friend Andy loved stories. He loved how life is made up of nothing but stories. Good stories. Bad stories. Happy stories. Sad stories. Whatever emotion is attached to them, they are what keep the soul going, keep life interesting.
When I meet people, I want to know them. I want to know their stories. I don't want the obligatory smile and "So nice to meet you. We should do this again sometime." I don't want just the casual conversation to make time pass more comfortably. I want to know you. I want to hear about where you came from. The favorite shoes that you wore with everything as a young child. The favorite songs that make you sing and dance in the car on your way to work. The first love that broke your heart in high school. The goals you set and dreams you chase. I want to see and feel the same emotions you are feeling as you tell me.
I won't always remember your name. I won't always remember your face. But I will always remember your stories.
What does this have to do with baby loss blogging?
When we share a story with someone, especially a story of sadness, we are making ourselves vulnerable. We are opening the depths of our souls to another, where pain, fear, love, and hope all meet. When we listen to these stories, I mean truly listen, we open our own souls to those same depths. We allow ourselves to truly care about another person, to acknowledge and feel some of their pain. When our own hearts break with the pain of another, even if there is nothing we can do to fix their pain, we are, in a sense, sharing the load of their burden.
When I was in Sunday School as a child, I remember our teacher telling us that when Jesus came to the world, He felt the emotions of the world. When he was on the cross, He felt the pain and anguish of man's sin. He listened, He felt, He shared a burden. Sometimes sharing this burden with others can be overwhelming for us, feeling so much sorrow and pain that isn't even ours.. There are days that I've read so many posts and so many emails filled with pain, sorrow, and misery that I can't stand to be awake anymore, and I literally hide under my covers and cry myself to sleep just to be able to not feel that pain anymore. On days like that, I sometimes wonder if that's anything like what it felt like for Jesus. (Obviously grieving for a handful of people is a lot different than grieving for an entire world of people, but I think it's a fair concept.)
As overwhelming as it can get, I think allowing ourselves to feel, to listen, to share that burden.... I think it makes us better people.
I think the world needs better people.