I don't subscribe to the idea that bad things happen to us so that we can later use that experience to help others. That line of thinking combines martyrdom and a sort of glorification of misery, and it troubles me. However, I do believe that when bad things happen, when we can later apply that experience in a constructive way somehow, that we should try to do that. Lemons into lemonade and whatnot, you know.
Right now, a few of my dearest friends are facing some difficult times. Moreover, they're going through some things with which I have experience. Maddeningly, though, I haven't been able to find the right things to say or do to help these people I care about.
I define wisdom as being the product of knowledge, compassion, and humility. All three elements must be present. One must have an understanding of the facts, concern for how they affect people, and to be able to not make things about themselves. (Yes, I realize me complaining that I don't know how to use my knowledge technically makes my friends' situations about me, but only in the context that I'm trying to get to the wisdom I want to be able to offer them.)
Why can't I find the wisdom to help my friends?
I feel like I have all the pieces I need, but I can't figure out how to put them together and I don't understand why that is. I'm certain it isn't because I don't have enough compassion. That leaves knowledge and humility. Have I failed to really understand my own experiences? Am I blind to my own ego on these matters? What am I missing?
In case you happen to be one of my friends going through something right now, just know that I do care and I'm here for you (except on Monday nights from 9-10, when I watch Dallas). I know that's generic and not very helpful, but I promise that the moment I have something more specific, I'll offer it.