Last week, I had numerous friends who had life-changing events happen in their lives, and I watched as if their story was a plot line in a sad novel, as if I were looking into the window of their lives, seeing heart-wrenching details that brought them to their knees. One friend's dad died, and although he had lived a rich, Godly life, it was nonetheless difficult to say goodbye to the loved one that had raised her, that had poured himself into her and her family's lives for over fifty something years. Another friend that I hadn't seen for over 25 years, though we had exchanged Christmas cards and family letters, died from a three year battle with cancer. She dances in heaven today. A friend suffered from her third miscarriage, after a few weeks of nausea that had her hoping this pregnancy would "take" and that surely sickness in this case was a GOOD thing. Another dear friend that lives hours away, shared with me that her husband of over 25 years had left her for a younger woman. Another young woman, a family member, called me in tears, realizing that the depression that she thought was abating, had hit her full force again, and slammed a blow with the perfectionistic battles that haunt her.
Then today I read this blog post: http://www.mamamia.com.au/health-wellbeing/her-husband-had-an-accident/.
Life is hardly EVER fair. Life is not always fun and games....although sometimes it is! Sometimes life can be about fashion, and home decor, and fun meals, and books, and games, and sports and dancing. Sometimes life is about swimming and vacations, and school and extra curricular activities. Sometimes life is even about GREAT businesses, enjoyable work, and rewards for a job well done. For others, life is about finding the next meal, having enough money to pay the rent and utilities, or having the money necessary for meeting the basic needs of your family like clothing and shoes and healthcare. There are plenty of people who suffer mental illness and depression, terminal illnesses and painful injuries. There are people who want to live and love without having to deal with heart-wrenching conditions that make them long to feel NORMAL again. We just never know what other people are going through. As the author of the blog post above says, sometimes you just want to wear a sign. There are really FEW people who are carefree. Really FEW people who can go through an hour, a day, a week without hurting for someone else. The real truth is that if you see someone who appears to have it all together, then there is a piece of the puzzle missing that you are not seeing. Rarely does someone have it ALL, have it ALL together, and have no need for others. As the author says, if we could just see the "signs" people wear, we might truly be more gentle with our neighbor, with that stranger who appears to be different, with those who even look like they have it ALL together. People hurt, people ache, people need to have grace extended to them. We really only have the ability to offer the grace that God has given us. We are selfish and want to be sure we are cared for. My challenge today is to us all to watch for the signs others are wearing, and be gracious to them. Watch for ways to bring a smile to others and enjoy doing for others for the mere pleasure of seeing them touched by a caring friend.
Go, be gentle to someone today.