A Few False Words

Two experiences: one wonderful, one not.

The latter first.

I sit at a dinner table having just shared of a wrenching health experience I’d had years ago. Across the table, someone who is well-intentioned says, I know how you feel.

Only he doesn’t. I feel it in the way we feel someone’s eyes on us; we just know. And I am angry. Beneath that, I feel unseen and alone.

I learn something in that moment: “I know how you feel” can’t be a true statement. We say it to comfort, to connect. Only the impact can be miles from that. How could we know the exact contours of someone’s inner life?

The former experience.

I sit at a restaurant table having just shared of a wrenching health experience I’d had years ago. Across the table, someone nods and says, I have walked a similar path.

And I feel kinship. She does’t presume to know how I feel. But she does know of the experience I have lived. She is a fellow journeyer.

We are two overlapped in one pain we have both held. And in that, there is real comfort, connection.

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