A soft place to fall {a MOM-day post}

I don’t really read the news anymore.  I don’t watch it either.  Ever since we cancelled satellite t.v., I just sort of checked out of the current event scene.  I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but I figure if I really need to know it, it will likely show up on social media in some form.

But then, sometimes, what does show up on social media, becomes so polarized that I’m not sure I even wanted to know. 

Take this story for example: a young mom changes her routine and accidentally leaves her 11 month old in the car.  Tragically, the baby girl passed away. 

The story is not what I’m going to talk about today, what I want to talk about is the response to this story.  So very many people were critical, judgmental and harsh in their opinions about this poor mother.  They were frustrated, angry and downright mean.

It was awful, I agree.  I think about that poor baby and my heart just breaks.  But, when I think about that mother, my heart shatters into a million pieces.  She will live forever with the weight of that day on her heart.  She will ache, cry, agonize and relive that day over and over for as long as she lives.  I cannot begin to imagine the pain that will be her constant companion for the rest of her life.

My first response to all the angry comments was to remind people that EVERYONE makes mistakes.  If your mistakes don’t end up in tragedy, it doesn’t make you better it just makes you lucky.

But the more I have thought about it, the more I want to emphasize the truth that EVERYONE makes mistakes.  Your sister, your best friend, your children.  Think about those you love, and how you would feel if they were the ones whose misstep resulted in a devastating outcome.  Would you jump on them?  Would you rail against them and beat them up about it?  Would you constantly remind them of how horrible a person they were because they made a mistake?

When you post your rant on Facebook or social media

about this, that or the other, do you pause to think about how those in your life might feel?  Maybe your sister never told you about her near miss with forgetting her child in a car, maybe your best friend almost ran over her own child, maybe your dear neighbor got busy doing something and her child nearly drowned?  And guess what?  Now they never will.  You are no longer a safe place for her to share her imperfections.  She knows just how you feel about someone who does THAT, and that someone is her.

Perhaps, instead, we can be a safe place for each other.  A place that we can share our imperfections, own our mistakes and learn from them, and maybe even teach others about them, so they don’t have to suffer the consequences of tragedy. 

We do this by being compassionate.  By being open about our shortcomings.  By being forgiving of faults and imperfections in others.  By being forgiving of the imperfections in ourselves.

Before you post your opinion, please stop and think, would I say this to my sister, about something she has done?  Because if not, it probably shouldn’t be said about or to anyone.  Instead of creating hurt and pain, let’s be there to support, uplift and encourage each other. 

I think it would be beautiful.


You Might Also Like

  • Mary Miller
    August 12, 2014 at 11:27 am

    So beautifully stated, Amy. Thank you. When I read about these kinds of horrible events, I'm often surprised by the righteous indignation it evokes in people. "How can anybody be so dumb!" "How does a mother 'forget' where her child is!"
    To me, when I think about how distracted, and scattered and exhausted I felt on many (most?) days when my children were little, I think, "Sadly, I know exactly how something like this can happen." It is as heart shattering, as forgivable.

  • Kristie
    August 12, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    When I heard and read that story, my heart broke for the family. But when I started to hear and read the comments that people made I got angry.
    My brother was hit and killed by someone who was obeying the law, as was my brother. It was a tragic accident. And yet he still died. I read all the comments that were posted with the article telling of his death. I was heart broken. Complete strangers choose to judge this person. Someone they didn't know, and they judged her so harshly. I finally couldn't stand it and emailed the reporter with a comment about how I had already forgiven her, and I knew my brother had. And that it was only for him to judge her and he never judged people while he was alive.
    I completely agree with what you said. We all need to think for a while before we say anything, and not just with things like this but more in our every day life.
    My heart breaks for this mother. She has a hard life ahead, and I truly hope she can find peace. This could happen to anyone. The sooner we stop thinking this could never happen to me, the sooner we can stop judging and start having empathy.
    Thanks for posting. I appreciate what you wrote. It spoke to me. And now gives me something to think about and work on in my own life.