It happened again last week: someone told me I have an incredibly easy job. I may or may not have audibly sighed before launching into my now-patented spiel about ministry being one of the hardest jobs I know. In order to soften things a bit, though, I ended with this: "Every job is hard in different ways. I don't work outside in 110º heat, after all. Everything has its own challenges."
I stand by that. Ministry may consistently rank as one of the most stressful jobs out there, but there are some jobs I simply couldn't do, whether for physical, emotional, or mental reasons. We're all wired differently, and that's why we can work together to get things get done. But as jobs, so life. We all meet life's struggles differently, and hardships affect us in different ways. I'm reminded of a picture of two dogs who had apparently ran through the same mud puddle. On one dog, a retriever, the mud barely reached its knees. On the terrier beside it, though, the same mud went up to the middle of the chest. The moral: how deep the mud is depends on whom you ask.
We each experience life in our own unique way. What deeply troubles me might never bother you, and vice versa. You may grieve over a death for months; I may only mourn a few days. We need to remember this. Too often we have the mindset of, "I went through that, but I didn't handle it that way. You're defective; be like me." They're not you, nor are they defective in some way; they will handle it differently and struggle with different things. And that's OK. We have our own unique problems, unique experiences.
Help each other. Love one another. Remember: the depth of the mud depends on whom you ask.