I have been guilty of this more times than I ‘d like to admit.
I assume someone else’s feelings mirror my own and act on that assumption by withdrawing or not showing up or “giving them space”.
But the problem is, most times, on reflection, I realize my action (or inaction) was really all about sparing my own feelings or staying within my own comfort zone.
The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
~Jeremiah 17:9 NIV
So I’m learning to ask hard questions.
And I wish others would do the same.
Before I assume someone doesn’t want companionship, or a phone call or another text or message, I’m trying to give them the opportunity to say no.
I’ve been surprised more than once when I wanted to keep my distance in the name of “giving someone space” or “not bothering someone” that if I DID reach out, she responded by saying it was just what she needed.
I admit that asking risks rejection or worse-I might end up bearing the brunt of someone’s very bad day (or week!). But not asking means I may not be doing precisely the thing God wants me to do. I may be choosing the easy way out and rationalizing it so I feel better but the poor heart that needs my companionship or encouragement is left without the very help I was meant to provide.
I think Dominic’s death has made me brave in this one tiny place: I say things I might not have said before. I risk pain in relationships where I might not have been willing to risk before. I assume that if I don’t speak important truths RIGHT NOW I might not get another chance.
I long to be a burden bearer for my friends and family because I know what it is to bear a burden.
So I ask and don’t assume.
If someone wants to be left alone, then they are free to tell me.
But I will not stay silent or keep away simply for my own comfort.
Who knows? Maybe this is exactly the good work God has prepared in advance for me to do.