The past week has been a roller coaster ride of emotions for me. I lost an uncle on Wednesday morning. My uncle, Elry “Rabbit” Hearns, Jr. was a great businessman and uncle, a man of few words who nevertheless made a big impact on me and our family as a whole. For the past 5 years, almost as long as I spent working on this book, I’ve lost a lot of close family members. I seem to be at that stage of life where everyone that I grew up looking up to is starting to pass away, some off them at very young ages. It’s something you just never get used to.
In the midst of dealing with this, I’ve got to celebrate 2 new births, 2 pregnancy announcements, a wedding and an engagement through the magic of social media (most of the new came from those back home in Michigan, or those who have moved with jobs to places near and far). This is my 5th or 6th wave of “life events” among my friends and family, at least. It seems like it’s feast or famine in that department–either everyone is graduating, engaged, getting married, having children, getting jobs, getting promoted, traveling overseas, or dealing with bereavement, or no one is. Again, that’s the power of social media; it makes everyone’s life into a highlight reel.
What I’ve learned through all of these life’s changes is what it really means to rejoice when others rejoice and to mourn when they mourn. It means that we are invested in those around us. We genuinely care what happens to them. We are earnestly praying for them. We take on their cares, concerns and triumphs as our own. All of this is true and wonderful, but what I’ve experienced since I began to share more of my journey of writing my book is that beyond boosting the person we are commiserating with, our investment encourages and pushes us to continue to strive in our own lives, not from a sense of competition, but from a place of motivation.
I tried not to post too much on my social media about writing my book initially. I didn’t want to be “that person” that floods people’s timelines with updates about something they really don’t care about. But then I would go to church and people would ask me about my progress on the book or tell me that they had always wanted to write a book and my posts have inspired them to start back on those projects. People started to contact me and ask me to help them with their book projects. A community of Christian Women writers is starting to form around me just sharing the joys and sorrows of my self-publication journey through social media. I’m suggesting people and services to others and receiving encouragement to continue on with my own book. This is the essence of why we should invest in others and have close personal relationships where we take on their victories and setbacks as our own–it helps to foster that sense of community, of family that is so integral to recognizing who we are in Christ, and who God is to us. It’s an encouragement to us as much as to the person we are rejoicing or mourning with.
During this last week, I’ve felt the tug of envy, the urge to compare, and all the other negative responses I could have to all of the good news in light of the bad news that I received, but being able to live in someone else’s happiness instead of in my own sadness has been such a blessing to me. Those who have called, texted, and spent time with me this week have kept me in good spirits. It’s been a week of growth, encouragement and motivation for me. Living this altered life means getting close with other believers, and has benefits that I never imagined.
How was your week?