"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
This quote has been running through my head a lot lately.
The day my mom died my siblings and I were at my aunt and uncle's house. That afternoon we drove back up to Bellingham, from Seattle to see my dad. We had to stop at a store on the way home, I remember walking down the isles and passing people, looking at them, and thinking: "they have no idea what just happened to me". This has crossed my mind several times, when people watching or interacting with other strangers, or even friends. We don't know what battles people are fighting, so the best idea is to be kind.
I was recently talking to my friend who told me about her husband's addiction to pornography and the terrible effects of it. She has been carrying this burden alone, for a long time, not letting anyone know. She is exhausted and drained. She told me she hoped no one noticed something was wrong with them.
I told her: "the more I get to know people, the more I realize we are all fighting a hard battle...and we are all good actors."
I think we all do that, we hide a lot of our biggest trials. I don't know really why, maybe we don't want the sympathy, or negative attention, to be treated differently from friends, or possibly feel contention from it.
There are so many hard things that are happening, right now to us.
A friend of mine has been trying to get pregnant for years, she sees all her friends having babies, some of us have upwards to 6 kids by now and she still has empty arms, and it's heart breaking. Another friend can get pregnant, but has had miscarriage after miscarriage after miscarriage. She told me how people assume each one will get easier because she has experienced it before, and almost dismiss that it has even happened, but in fact it is just the opposite. It breaks her heart a little more each time, a wave of grief and a feeling of failure wash over her even more powerful than the prior.
Another dear friend was sexually abused their whole childhood and didn't say a word about it until they were adults, can you imagine that? Carrying that pain for so many years, alone, as a small child?
We have been through the whole unemployment thing, a couple times. Some of our close friends have been unemployed for years, off and on. It sounds like not that big of a deal, it's just money right? Actually its completely draining and very trying on all relationships. Ever been there?
Maybe you know people too, maybe you are "people". This life can be so hard. Sometimes we are given trials so much bigger than us that we can feel so lost and a lone.
I can't tell my friend her husband will get over his addiction to pornography and that she'll be able to trust him ever again, or tell my friend Yes! You WILL have a baby! I can't give my other friends a job, I can not erase my friend's childhood and replace it with one with love and happiness. I can't do any of that. But I can be kind. I can tell them that it will be ok, maybe not in this life, but in the next. I can tell them that Christ lives. I can tell them that he can take our burden, so we dont' have to carry all that pain, confusion and loneliness alone.
But how do you do that? How do you just give away all that? How do you do that when your faith is so exhausted that its almost non existent now?A Small prayer. A small little step of faith. I know, not just think, I know Christ is there, waiting to help us. No matter how big the trial may be and no matter how small our hope and faith is, He is there.
We are all fighting hard battles, and Christ is there.