I stammered through my answer. My hesitation wasn’t due to a lack of struggles. I remember struggles, but I don’t remember them well. One reason is simply the passage of time. I’m not sure when I struggled with each thing along the way. But also, I’ve tried to put some things behind me. I don’t want to remember some struggles all the time, because if I live in the past, I miss out on the present.
Yet, as I later reflected on the conversation, I realized how important it is to be able to remember well enough to share with and help others. No two journeys are the same, but we need to be reassured we’re not alone. We can’t just say, “been there, done that, and you’ll survive, honey” and expect the other person to sigh and relax from that point forward. We can’t just say, “Well, I’ve never been through that, but I know what you should do.” We can’t put on rose-colored glasses and diminish someone’s issues because of our optimism. And we shouldn’t pull someone into our muck and mire.
It’s not about us. And we can’t make it all about the other person either. God is the only one who knows what each of us needs to share and receive with each interaction. But this I know for sure:
God brings people in and out of our lives.
We need to steward each interaction well.
We won’t always feel prepared, nor should we. After all, it is in those “caught off guard moments” that we get to most completely rely on God.
Remember well enough to relate to and encourage others. Forget well enough to not get stuck.