Douthat’s column suggest that it’s a mistake to assume that misery is always an imposition, something that can’t be “anything but terrifying.” If nothing else, he writes, sharing misery is a kind of truth-telling. The more pressure we feel to keep it private, the more warped our view of the world becomes.
Sharing sorrow can be a way of welcoming others, not just as they are now, but as they may be, if something goes wrong. […] In the absence of the witness my friends offered me, the witness Douthat encourages people to offer or to welcome, the world can feel thin. It’s like entering a Protestant church full of sterile crosses with no crucified Christ in sight. If the Cross is treated as an aberration, something only flamboyantly suffering saints are called to, then Christ is not fully present to any of the rest of us.