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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Jesus: The ultimate commiserator

As I was brushing my teeth before bed last night, I had an 'aha' moment (which is not so rare an occurrence for that time of night--such things like to pop in my head while I'm unable to share them immediately because I'm brushing my teeth , etc.).  This 'aha' moment was one of the simplest variety, but as with other such moments in my life it was really exciting to me because it involved a revelation about WORDS.  Or more particularly, a single word: commiserate.

The train of thought went something like this:

[I thought about someone saying commiserate in some context, but I don't remember which, and directly after that my thoughts started racing.]

"Commiserate.  Hmm....have you ever thought about what commiserate means?? We can all probably correctly use it in a sentence, but the word in nature seems like it would have to stem from something like comiserable even a word??....well if it's not it should makes sense....because if you are "comiserable" with someone it means you are sharing their miserableness with them, either because you are also experiencing said miserableness or you shave experienced something very similar and you empathize and FEEL for them....but seriously how many people have thought about where commiserate comes from??  I should address this with Rog to see if he's ever thought about it." [End train of thought, sort of]

So then I did just that, as soon as I got into the bedroom I asked Rog, "Have you ever thought about the word commiserate itself?" And of course, since my husband is hilarious in his own right, he said, "Oh yeah, all the time.  I've thought about that a lot." (I'm not sure my text can convey the sarcasm so just trust me, it was there, and I, as always, laughed and then told him to shut up :-) )

And I explained to him my train of thought.

We both agreed that it makes sense, but I wanted to further investigate the word origins and with a very (very) quick Internet search I found this:

 'Commiserate is used in the context of sharing sadness or problems. It is closely related to the word misery and has its roots in the Latin miser, "miserable." When you add the Latin prefix co-, "with, together" with the Latin root miser, "miserable," you get commiserate, "to share someone's misery." People usually commiserate because they are in the same situation. The related noun commiseration refers to compassion, sympathy, or the sharing of problems.'

So I wasn't completely off-base with my raw analysis.  Not that it was exceedingly difficult, but I enjoy when I have these moments of "I kind of sort of feel validated as an English major now even though I already have my degree and that should be good enough but it's not so I rely on things like this (which  most others have probably already pondered and discarded) to validate said English degree.

But then I got to thinking....Who is the 'best' person to commiserate with?  The question sounds odd, I know, because in an ideal world no one would have to commiserate at all.  But as soon as I had the question, I knew the answer--Jesus.

Who else can we say knows the inner workings of our heart, and more than that knew the exact miseries we were going to feel since before we were individually created.  So it makes sense that the ultimate commiserator is Jesus, the ultimate empathizer is Jesus.  Think about this:

Jesus, who knew His set path before He was born in that stable in Bethlehem, who willingly was ridiculed, persecuted, mocked, beaten, tortured, and died on a cross (the worst of the worst of ways to die), who was God in human form, was not immune to feeling alone.  He was not immune to feeling abandoned.  In fact, while He was hanging on the cross, Matthew 27:46 tells us, About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"  

So we see that the Savior of the world who knew the entire plan still felt forsaken by God.  So when we are feeling abandoned and frustrated and alone and forsaken, instead of crying out in anger toward God (which is a natural, human response and is a response God not only expects from time to time because of how He created us, but is also a reaction He knows we're going no have at exact moments in our lives and He just allows us to feel our frustration, but He then expects us to then trust that He knows exactly what He's doing), we can try to focus on the fact that Jesus (aka God aka the Holy Spirit) understands EXACTLY how we feel and He can truly give us the peace that passes understanding (because we often do not understand how God's plan is going to work out but instead we just know that it is--this is where our 'certain of what we cannot see' faith comes in), and we can only receive aforementioned peace if we lean on the Everlasting Arms which can, and do, keep us safe and secure from all alarms, but we have to make the choice to fully trust Him every day.  Choosing to fully rely on God for your every need can be a difficult thing to do, but when you are able to consciously make that choice in the midst of life's trials you will receive the ultimate comfort that extends more than we are even able to comprehend with our human minds.

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