Bria, my lead character from The Light series, and I are very different. Where she always knew the right outfit to wear and her hair and makeup were always flawless, I am typically woefully dressed for any given situation with hair that likely needs to be brushed and makeup that may or may not make me look worse. I admire these aspects about her, but only because having those skills would make me look better to other people, not because I would actually be better. What I admire most about Bria, and is most different from me, is her goodness. It is innate, and it has remained despite all she has been through.
You might now be saying “oh no Jacqueline you’re good!” I appreciate that, but I had to work really hard to cultivate any goodness I have. My innate self is less than stellar, but that’s okay. I somehow lucked out and married a man who has the kindest heart of anyone I have ever known. Through his constant giving of self, I have learned (a little) how to occasionally think of others before I think of myself. I am a work in progress, but I am working!
I think it is this difference between Bria and me that most effects how we cope in life. In my world, where I am the most important being, if something bad happens, I immediately tell people. Why wouldn’t they want to help me and support me through my crisis? Partly this is selfishness and partly this is impulsiveness, but the end result is I am definitely not a silent sufferer. It’s not that I’m dramatic, I’m definitely not that, but I need to talk through things and I just expect the people in my life to want to help me. Bria, in all of her goodness does not understand that others do want to support and love her (though perhaps not as much as I think they do). She is your classic silent sufferer. She will consistently sacrifice herself for others … I pretty much never do that. But the thing is being a silent sufferer is not someone I want to be. Suffering in silence is heroic in its act, but in truth it leads to martyrdom when martyrdom is often not required.
If we seek help during our suffering it is possible others can help us. There is a lot of suffering that has no earthly solution, but having someone by our side (physically or metaphorically) makes even the worst of pain somewhat more tolerable. There is probably a balance between my coping by telling everyone when I am struggling with anything and Bria coping by refusing to share any of her pain with others, but if I had to pick one of the extremes, I would pick the suffering that invites others into it with me. Life is hard, and I can’t go through it alone. I need others there when the road is hard or uneven or unclear. But the truth is Bria, and all of you silent sufferers out there, also need people to help you, but in your goodness, you either don’t think you’re worthy of the help or you don’t want to bother the rest of us. Those are lies that you have told yourself, or perhaps others have told you and you have believed. The truth is we want to help you, we want to be there for you. Sara, Blaise, and Josh love Bria, they wanted to help her, but Bria refused to allow them to share in her suffering. The result for her was almost deadly. The result for many others has been deadly. Suffering in silence is not you protecting others, it is you sacrificing yourself unnecessarily. You, like Bria, are worthy of being helped!
The holidays can be really awful for many people, please don’t suffer in silence. Please allow people in. If you don’t think anyone in your life wants to hear about your pain, it’s possible you’re right or it might be that your pain is too intense for them to handle, in these cases please reach out to a professional listener. In most cases this is going to be a psychologist or therapist, though I have found my hair stylist to be quite insightful and occasionally my pastor as well 😊
I hope your day is suffering free!
PPS For the first time I’m offering bulk pricing for my books this Christmas season.
- 5 books or more $9 per book
- 1 set of books (Books 1-4) $32 (must order at least two sets)
- 15 or more copies of The Light $7 per book
- 30 or more copies of The Light $6 per book
- More than 45 copies of The Light email me so I can give you the lowest price possible.
If you’re interested in placing an order or finding out more, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org