I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about things that impact my life. Why they happen, what they mean, and then what happens next because of them. It’s easy to get caught up in resentment or ask why me for the things that happen to us. It’s easy to somehow think we are in some odd way are special or unique for suffering such things alone.
First, we aren’t suffering. We are looking at the situation or world from the wrong side. We are allowing our egos to feel self-pity and anger for the world doing this to us. It’s not fair we say. Why us? In reality shouldn’t we ask why anyone? Why should anyone have to feel pain or go through tough times or even tragedy? These “terrible” things are the very items in this world that make us live. They make us appreciate life in all it’s beauty and even it’s hardship. These circumstances are what define our character, build our strength, and foster our appreciation. We need them even while we rail against the reality they occur.
Second, we aren’t alone. This is very important. We isolate ourselves or take out our pain and frustrations on others. What we miss is that everyone is feeling what we do. Actually, odds are they may be dealing with something worse. I think that’s why we feel the need to make people aware of how bad our lives are or how unfair. We want someone else to feel sorry for us or maybe enough pity that we interpret it as compassion. This in some way makes us feel better. The amazing people are the ones that suffer quietly but not alone. They don’t share their burdens but they also don’t become defined by them. They stand tall and help others even in the midst of quiet angst. These are the people that rise above and learn. They are the ones that find purpose in the pain and happiness in every day they draw breath.
I write this for two reasons as well. The first is to say to those that hurt and withdraw. That feel alone and rejected by the world because of what has happened to you. I say to you be brave. Be strong and know you aren’t alone. There are those that suffer worse and those that some day will. You are being tempered like the finest steel and only you can choose to be happy or languish in sadness.
As for the second, I speak to those that walk tall in the midst of so much pain. The ones that help others and smile big all the while hurting silently but without resentment. To you I say show us all. Teach us all to be as brave. To be strong. To be connected to everyone even in isolation. For you are the leaders we need to show us the power and beauty of life. To guide those that weep, to be those that laugh.
To you all I say I feel you. I share your pain and I share your joy. We are all, after all, in this together.