I’ve always been one of those people that, for some reason, others instinctively turn to and open up about some of their deepest, most heartbreaking wounds. It’s a trust I don’t take lightly. But it can be heavy.
I think, as human beings, all of us long to be able to share some of our darkness with someone. But most of the time we don’t. Usually out of fear. A lack of trust.
The fears are well-founded a lot of times. There are those vultures among us that seem to thrive on pain, chaos, drama. The ones who love to “know things” – have something against you.
While I am as authentic as I can be most of the time, or try to be, there are things that only a handful of people know about me. My past. My present. Some things will stay between me and God, forever.
And we all have things like that. Some have more than others.
My point is, in a world filled with images, the ones we try to present to the world and convince it (and sometimes ourselves) they are true, there is always something behind the eyes.
We’re often so wrapped up in ourselves that we don’t see what’s right in front of us. But more often than that, we simply choose not to look.
All God’s children got to deal with their own, right?
Compassion. Love. These are choices. If we wait to express them only when we feel them, we are destined to live a very shallow life. And I think we all know how I feel about shallow living.
The thing is, it doesn’t take a monumental amount of effort to show people we care. It can feel to us like it does, but most of us just get out of practice. And good habits are harder to start than bad ones.
I know people that are living with chronic illness, mental and/or physical. People who are caretakers, and fighting like hell to just keep their heads above water. Marriages that are struggling. Families that are divided. People who are lonely…..so lonely. Minds and hearts that are tormented behind a painted-on smile.
Do you see those things? Do you notice? Do you care?
It is so true that we have no idea, most of the time, what battles people are facing. Many people just don’t share those details. Not publicly. But they might, with one other person, if they had a person. Someone who wouldn’t judge or offer clichés.
We can’t be all things to all people. This is a struggle that I deal with all the time. I want to help. To be that friend. To provide that comfort.
But I am only one person. And I have my own battles too.
My husband accuses me of psychoanalyzing everything. He’s right. I do. I seem hardwired to question, try to understand the inner workings of people’s actions, words, and motivations.
I can get caught up in that. So I try, very simply, to just remember that every one of us is a complex creature. With fears, scars, a past that has contributed to our nature. Genetic dispositions that some of us fight like hell to overcome.
It makes me thankful for grace. And it makes me fight against all my own natural tendencies to judge, or become exasperated with people and how they can be, and extend that grace to others.
We all have closed doors somewhere in our lives, our hearts. We may not always know what lies behind some of those in the people we know. But we know something is there.