I like to think that I am an optimist. I always want to believe the best in people and situations. I believe in the Truth: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
However, I become cynical when positive platitudes are thrown about too freely:
"The night is always darkest before the dawn."
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
"God won't give you more than you can handle."
While the speakers of these phrases mean the best, the words become so trite that they can seem mocking or even hurtful. Why? Because they downplay the real pain that people are going through. Sure, there comes a time in every circumstance when it's proper to look for the silver lining. But the silver lining doesn't seem so beautiful if you haven't experienced the abject suffering of having the blackest, heaviest cloud suffocate you for what seems like an eternity.
There is suffering in life. It's unavoidable.
A dear friend of ours is suffering right now. His father passed away yesterday as the result of a freak accident. There is no way I would consider walking up to this friend and spouting off a platitude. I will go to the visitation and cry with his family. I have already cried. I can feel the heaviness of their loss in my own heart. I simply cannot say or do anything to make the situation better. So I will simply walk with them and help them to carry the burden of their grief.