At some point in life it's going to happen- someone is getting married and you're still looking, someone else announces a pregnancy and you're still trying, someone is holding the ownership keys to a home and you're still renting, someone else is ...something that you're not. How we handle this type of situation reveals a lot about our character.
The moment still lingers in my mind. She arrived late to my wedding shower and only partially ready. After spending more time away getting ready, she enters..sulking. She continued to display a poor attitude until she decided she would just leave early. I had another guest ask me what her problem was. Her mother excused her behavior by stating that she's nearly thirty and doesn't even have a boyfriend, and as such it's understandable as to why she acted the way she did. I can understand the difficulty of the situation, but I cannot excuse much less accept her behavior. I have always wished she had celebrated with me.
A few years later she did find a man she would marry. She sent an invitation with full expectation for me to be overwhelmingly excited for and celebrate with them. I was unable to attend the wedding due to concerns of traveling a long distance with my very small baby. She was furious and lamented her displeasure of me not doing whatever it took to celebrate with her. I appoligized and tried explaining the situation again, but it was to no avail. The double standard frustrated me, but I sent a wedding gift still. Her mother had to tell her to at least send me a "thank you" text message.
When my son arrived, she was just one of many who did not celebrate with us. We were actually shocked that few celebrated with us.Honestly, we felt rather abandoned. Only two friends texted/called us and helped us prepare to bring our baby home. All of our other friends, many of whom we frequently hosted for gatherings in our home, and the church we had attended for a year were no where to be seen. It would be five months before we would see or hear from just a few of them. We were on our own during the most stressful experience of our lives. We learned, though, to depend on ourselves and gained confidence that we were highly capable of handling difficult situations on our own. I have always wished they had celebrated with us.
I ran into one of those friends recently. She had been unsuccessful at conceiving around the time we were expecting and delivered our son. She disappeared completely. Then, not long after his arrival she discovered she was expecting. We then began to hear and see more of she and her husband. It seemed to be a situation in which she could be happy for something good happening in our lives now that something good is happening in hers. I received a baby shower invitation with the expectation to fully celebrate her pregnancy and child. Bitterness tugged at my heart. The shower was to take place at our former church, the one that remained silent during our pregnancy, birth and NICU stay. I wrestled with purchasing a gift and/or attending for weeks. How could I celebrate her pregnancy, purchase a gift that would assist her in caring for the baby, and be surrounded by this particular group of people when all the while I'm aware of the fact that we were treated in a completely different manner? It's a tough matter to chew.
Nonetheless, I carefully selected a gift for her and visited with her in person. I asked her if she would like a meal calendar to be set up to coordinate individuals who might bring her meals after the baby arrives. I offered to bring one myself. She asked if this was something that had been done for me. As politely replied "no, but meals was something that I felt would have been helpful as we transitioned and so I want to provide that assistance for you."
I want to be bitter, but I also want to be better. I understand what it is like for individuals to choose to not celebrate the good in your life (or at least not celebrate until something equally good happens in theirs). It's a lonely place that should never be. The root of this occurrence is selfishness. Sometimes celebrating requires effort- the effort to push through selfish tendencies and do what is right. We celebrate because Jesus is in that moment, and always worthy of celebration. True selflessness is exhibited when we can celebrate with others regardless of the comparable events in our own lives. We don't do it for ourselves, but for the other person and for the simple fact that all life's joys should be celebrated regardless of the recipient.