Kind of as a follow-up to the post I wrote a few days ago, here is a link to an insightful blog post (by Molly Piper) on the value of imagining another's grief as a way to attempt to enter into it with them, instead of just saying "I can't even imagine," and walking off. (Thank you, Mary Scott, for the lead!)
I'd also like to clarify and say that I DO definitely think there's a time and place to share our griefs. I don't think we need (or want to) tell everyone we see, even at church, just how we hurt and why. Though there is room for that -- like in my pregnant-woman-illustration-- and it does breed humility and honesty as Ashlea pointed out in the comments (please read hers-- it is really good stuff), I was thinking of closer circles of friends, such as a church small group, family member, or best friend.
Personal bent- my best friend, already long married, was grappling with infertility (and the difficulty of being a "seminary widow") while I was bopping along as a college student. She still shared her pain with me, and I did my best to enter into it and try to encourage her (and pray hard that God would give her a child!), through poetry and Scripture and silly socks and all the things that good friends do together (like almost setting the kitchen on fire making falafel). Later, when she miscarried, I did my best to listen and to assure her that God was still good, remembering what had most comforted me in my own 'dark night of the soul.' I found it so encouraging that she said my words actually were exactly what she needed to hear, not because "I'd been there," but because I'd known pain, and I know the Comforter. In our own church small group we don't break up singles and marrieds, nor those with kids and without them (we do often split up guy-girl), and it's really sweet to hear people praying fervently on behalf of others for pain and hardships they've never personally experienced-- the healthy young mom praying for the ailing older woman; the married woman praying for God's guidance for a single girl struggling to know her role & future; the college kid praying for the mom at her wit's end with two-year-old tantrums.
So please don't misunderstand; I think there is HUGE need for sensitivity and consideration, and I do NOT mean to say that every stay-at-home mom should call up her single friend and moan to her about how hard it is to stay home every day, when she knows that that's exactly what her single friend wants more than anything in the world. I do mean that if her friend loves her, then she will ask how she is doing, and in that moment it would not be wrong for the tired mom to be honest.
Ok, baby crying... gotta go! Please, keep the comments and interaction coming!