A woman stood up, and introduced herself. We all knew her anyway. Tracy and her family, including her husband – a physician at the hospital when I was in training – had been attending the same church as us for a while now.
She said very plainly, “I would really appreciate some prayer for our family. Our marriage has sucked lately. We have been fighting a lot, and it’s just been hard.”
Blunt. To the point. And…
Here this couple was; leaders in the church and the hospital. A role-model family that most of us looked up to, particularly being a medical student at the time.
How should I process what she was saying? They were struggling? Was residency going to be that bad?
The Struggle is Real
When Tracy told us that she and her husband were struggling, this was the first time in a long time that someone was so brutally honest about their life that it hurt to listen.
The emotional response was strange.
It was a similar feeling to how you feel when you watch a movie that is so embarrassing for the main character, you can barely keep your eyes on the screen. You just want it to go away. Of course, that is until the end when the resolution makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.
Except, this time, there was no warm and fuzzy. This was real life.
Just cold hard reality.
The raw honesty was like reading a post from RMD. Her posts tug at your heart strings, and then teach you a simple and honest reality about being human. The reason it resonates so loudly is that you can relate to it, too.
As someone once told me, “Humans will be human.” As such, we all suck sometimes. We are all terrible at something. All of us are addicted to something or know someone that we love who is.
When Tracy shared her story about battling for her marriage, I didn’t judge her. My wife and I could relate. Marriage and raising kids are two of the hardest things – and the most rewarding – that I’ve ever experienced.
To Err is Human
At the end of the day, being human is hard.
Let’s not feign perfection. Let’s stop pretending that life is perfect. And, by God, we all need to stop judging other people that are struggling. If you haven’t been the struggling one yet, you will be someday.
It’s okay to celebrate when life is good, but we need to be honest when it’s not, too. Our facebook posts, tweets, instagram pictures, and real-life conversations should reflect both the mountains and the valleys.
Being a pretender doesn’t do anyone out there any good. Including yourself.
Instead, let’s speak the truth. Let’s tell it how it is.
When someone asks how you are doing, and you’ve had a tough time, don’t say, “I’m good. How are you?” Tell them how you are feeling. People’s reactions might surprise you when you tell them “I’m really struggling right now.”
They’ll probably tell you that they’ve been having a hard time too, or ask how they can help walk along side you in this journey called life.
Back to the Story
Tracy and her family ended up being fine. They got some help, and hashed it out using some counseling with friends and some prayer from the church.
That would not have happened, though, if they weren’t open and honest about their struggles. Often times, people in medicine view asking for help as weakness.
I am here to tell you today that the weak thing to do when you need help is to NOT ask for it. We are all in this struggle together. People can’t help you, if they don’t know that you need it.
Life is hard. It can be tough sometimes. There are people out there who care and want to come along side you to help you with your struggles.
Remember, it is perfectly fine (and expected) to ask for help! You, your family, and your patients deserve a healthy you!
And when you do ask for help, you might find – like Tracy – that there are a lot of people just like you who are struggling, too. And they’ll probably lend a helping hand. All you have to do is open up.
Have you ever experienced something like Tracy’s story? Do you struggle yourself? How did you help, or get help? Leave a comment below.