Private Pain

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At church, we are going through a series about social media and its role in each of our lives.

This series has re-opened my eyes to the deluge of social media in my life, and caused me to wonder a little more about the person behind all those “selfie” posts.

I don’t take selfies. Or, at least I don’t consider them selfies. Someone else takes the picture, so it’s not a selfie, right?

I used to be someone who basked in the limelight. Loved attention.

Not anymore. Perhaps it was the pain of infertility for so many years, or perhaps it is just the maturity that comes with age, but I’m much more introspective than I used to be. I’ve retreated from the limelight for the comfort of a more subtle glow.

I prefer to be the observer than the observed now.

I have hundreds of friends. At least according to Facebook.

In reality, I have a handful of friends I feel truly comfortable around. Who know my joys, my sorrows, my fears, my delights, and who have walked beside me in my private pain.

Infertility being the biggest private pain I’ve ever suffered.

Sure, I’ve been very open and very public about our infertility. But, unless you’ve been through it, it is still a very private, raw, deeply personal pain. I’m not even sure my husband could relate to the vacancy I felt when I was in the throes of infertility.

I’m not even sure I could recognize today the person that I was then.

I can look back at pictures from during that time. Pictures of me, with a smile on my face. Hiding a broken heart.

I know I’m not the only one who has concealed private pain behind a beautiful shade of red lipstick.

In fact, I’m pretty positive that when I pull up Facebook tonight, I’ll find a dozen other “friends” who are masking their own private pain.

I may never know exactly who they are at any given time, or what exactly they are hiding, but there are some things I can do to connect with them in their time of distress.

I can be real. I can be honest. I can share the joys of my world without bragging about them. I can celebrate the goodness of life without acting like I’m the cause of it.

I can be grateful.

There is a saying that no one will ever remember all the things you said to them, but they will always remember the way you made them feel.

I try to keep that in mind every time I go online, and comment on someone’s post or picture, or share a “status” of my own.

Humility. Gratitude. And most of all, a little sense of humor.

Even if I, too, am hiding some private pain.

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