Katie Schuermann at He Remembers the Barren has a post today that is not just for those who are childless. (Truth be told, nothing at Katie's blog is for the childless only. It is a site dripping with Gospel comfort for all who live under the cross.)
Katie's target audience is the barren woman who is the victim of unwanted counsel from well-meaning, and sometimes not so well-meaning, advice givers. She acknowledges that while there are those clueless louts whose unthinking bowling ball comments flatten the recipient with their cruelty, most people will follow the lead of the one with whom they are conversing and will not walk through a door that has not been opened:
So, let’s give the world a break and take some responsibility for the conversations we keep. Let’s not blog-blame others for finishing the conversations we start ourselves and, instead, kindly explain to our friends and acquaintances face-to-face what we need most from them.
It's good advice for all of us. I have on more than one occasion watched as someone who is facing challenges in his life in the area of parenting, health, job, church, or something else has become indignant when, after bemoaning his situation, the one to whom he was belly-aching presumed to offer advice. I have done it myself. It soon becomes clear that what is wanted is not advice but sympathy. Fine. But it is unreasonable, once the subject is raised, to be offended when the person with whom you raised the subject offers some comment upon it.
Thank you, Katie, for your wise counsel. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.