Today was one of those days, one where winter seemed never ending and the pain kicked my butt straight into the snowbank. In the midst of my own misery, I couldn’t help but wonder what everyone else sees. Can they tell I’m wiped out and exhausted? Do they see the short hairs finally growing back after losing handfuls of hair? Do they see me digging deep to put a smile on my face? Could they possibly relate to my overwhelming need to get a good cry in today? The answer was no, they probably did not – at least not without giving it more thought.
The fact is, most people make small talk and relay pleasantries like they are handing out goodies on Halloween. I too am guilty, regularly failing to see beyond the surface down to the nitty gritty core of what someone may be struggling with. While a certain part of me needed – or even wished for sympathy or understanding – I knew deep down that I was not the only one.
Today’s church sermon pretty much put a nail in the proverbial coffin. While the message was based on judgement of others it was also clear on how we judge ourselves. Because I am so close to my own pain, my own struggles, my own failures or even my own successes, I have a hard time seeing those things clearly within the lives of those I’m surrounded by. Indeed, they may also need support and encouragement from someone, just like I did.
Whether it comes via verbal accolade or through the simplicity of a hug, we all need to know we are cared for. We all need to know that we matter, that other people can see our struggles and recognize them – even if they can’t personally relate. We simply need a witness to our lives, one willing to offer a warm hand when things seem glum.
My husband and I have little Sunday conversations we call “Take Aways”. On our drive home from church we reflect and share what lesson we took away from that day’s message. Today, the overwhelming summary was to not throw stones at glass houses, after all, we live in a glass house too! But, my much deeper revelation was this – I should aspire to provide that gentle supporting hand for a person who feels much like I did today.
By reflecting back on some of my own needs and feelings, I can relate better to what someone else may be feeling. I should skip the quick judgment of how people appear and dig a little deeper to truly see what they may be concealing. Just because they smile on the outside doesn’t mean they are smiling on the inside.
So my friends, I love you, I’m trying to see all of you, inside and out. And, just know if you ever need an ear, a shoulder or just a hug…I’m here for you! YOU, are not alone.