Everyone around us is uniquely gifted and challenged. We see the outside, but there is depth to every soul. Each of us is on a journey and a little grace from those around us helps.
We each have a family of origin. And, no matter who or where or when, if we are honest, there are both blessings and battles that come with those families. Holiday customs. Birthday memories. Hidden abuse. Single parents. Religious beliefs. Kindness and unkindness, love and apathy, abundance and need. We walk around with it all. All the time.
We each have had our own opportunities and choices, also bringing blessings and battles. Dreams championed. Experiences offered. Wasted connections. Solid relationships. Fragile relationships. Weighty expectations or responsibilities not always chosen, but real.
And, we each have physical bodies that give us pain and pleasure and distract us and enable us to do all that we do. Just this week, I was with someone who has not had a colon for 40 years, someone who has osteoporosis that causes pain, someone who had polio as a child, someone who is improving their running time, someone who is losing weight, and someone who had a clean post-cancer report.
I suppose my point is that we should all be a little kinder to and more understanding of our fellow sojourners.
A simple, personal example that helped me look at the people around me as more than meets the eye….. I had a neuro-muscular disease in my 30’s that left me weak after any physical exertion. An understanding doctor encouraged me to get a handicapped parking permit for those days when I was doing necessary shopping with 5 young children. Saving those extra steps was a huge help. On more than one occasion, I had people comment on my apparent healthiness, suggesting that I was abusing the special parking spot. One of my boys always wanted to follow them and tell them to leave his mother alone, young hero that he was. But, we decided to just learn from it, believing that we were not the only misunderstood people walking around, looking fine.
I confess to being able to be pretty critical at times. There are certain things that push my buttons (dishonesty, selfishness, disrespect are my biggies) and when those buttons get pushed, it takes me either a period of time or an immense amount of self control to step back and see the deeper side of a person.
Everyone I meet has their own value, their own story,
and their own battle.
But, this understanding that everyone I meet has their own value and their own story and their own battle helps me to get on the side of looking at the people around me as whole, and with a story. With battles and blessings I might be privileged to hear and learn from at some point.