Tonight I hung out with one of the most amazing people I know. She’s been my friend for a few years and I’ve been blessed many times by her kind, caring heart, and wisdom. She has a never-ending well of empathy and an ability to connect and make people feel important, loved, and at ease like no one I’ve ever seen. It is safe to say that this woman is one of the few I hold closest to my heart. And recently, life has unleashed its shit storm on her.
As I was driving home tonight, this song came on. I remember being moved to tears the first time I heard it. Tonight was no different as I thought about all the struggles and pain my sweet friend has experienced lately. Thinking about all she does for others, the countless times she has been there for me in my struggles with my ex-husband, the times she has listened and loved me and never judged me as a mother, all the times she’s offered her empathy and kindness in the face of some of my really difficult trials over the few years- even when she was struggling herself. And now, life is piling it on her and her sweet family. No amount of support or love or help I could give would ease the incredible amount of pain she is going through, and as her friend, that makes my heart ache.
Recently, I’ve had a couple people message me about things I’ve posted on Facebook. I never set out to be anything other than excited for the goals I’ve accomplished lately, but these women took the time out of their day to thank me. These two individuals called out specific things in their lives that they were privately struggling with. I am so honored that they would share and trust their struggles with me. When I think about these individuals my heart aches for them too. One has affected thousands of lives, and the other is on her journey into greatness. Both are incredible people that I’m grateful to know.
Also this week, a coworker had a close friend commit suicide. Only, the attempt went wrong, and she is now on life support. I think about my sweet co-worker friend, losing her friend, and the sweet little girl left behind with no mommy. I think about this poor woman too, and my own struggles with depression and anxiety, and trauma, and all of the things that makes life seem impossible sometimes. I think about how much pain this woman must have been in and how hopeless things must have seemed. I personally know the demons that she struggles with. The depth of the despair you feel when you add all of the factors together, and their sum total feels like more than you can handle. I think about how much I want to shake and then hug women in her exact same situation and tell them, “It will not always be like this! It gets better!!! Don’t give up!!! Just keep going!” My heart is full of ache tonight for all the suffering that happens in the world, and the lack of empathy we sometimes display for others that cross our paths.
I thought about this on my drive home and how much this concept has come up lately in my life; that of loving while having to watch someone in an incredible amount of suffering and pain. How hard it is to sit back and know that nothing you can do can speed that process up, or make it better, or make it go away. I thought about the times I was most struggling and the people who were my greatest supports. I thought about the things we’ve been through as a family in the last year, and watching one of my children in an immense amount and depth of suffering I could not fix or ease or chase away. I think about the humongous amount of tough love that I had to dole out, with the assistance of Paul, and her reluctant father. How hard it was to stand back for once and let life run its course- surely the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life- but how beautiful the picture is today. How bright the hues of my own life portrait are because of all those struggles. And about how fortunate I am to have so much love, so many wonderful examples of humanity surrounding me, and and being able to find my own inner strength to press on, even when I wanted to lay down and surrender.
And then I’m reminded of this song again, and the lyrics that beg for understanding and acceptance of each other. Of inclusion and unconditional love from our fellow human beings.
“You don’t have to try so hard, you don’t have to bend until you break. You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up, you don’t have to change a single thing.”
I think about the kind of person and friend I am. And if I’m doing enough to keep my judgments in check, and keeping the love I have for people overflowing? I hope the people in my life know how much I love them; how each one of them I choose to spend time and energy on because they ARE worth it-because they each have something amazing about them that I see and appreciate so much. We are all worth it. And more, we are worth each other’s best efforts to love and be kind to each other and accept people for exactly where they are at. You don’t have to change a single thing- I can love you exactly where you’re at.
It’s been a long, emotional week for me, but still my heart is so full of love. Love for the friends of mine that are suffering, love for my sweet girlies and all that they are accomplishing, love for my sweet Paul who never stops trying to better himself and loves me in spite of my flaws. And a lot of love for all those friends that haven’t shared their struggle with anyone- no vague-facebooking posts, no cry for help or sympathy, just silent, strong suffering. Those are the ones I’m thinking the most about tonight and sending out big giant air hugs and lots of love to.
Really, we are each sitting at the precipice of our brilliance. Sometimes, a storm has rolled in for the seemingly endless night, but in the not-so-distant future, we will each arrive at greatness and the exact moment we are supposed to. Never before in my life did I understand this more than I do now. We are right there, and the only thing we need to do is keep going, and love each other. Life is amazing! Even in the darkest hour, we have the opportunity to be something to someone else by offering kindness. I’m so thankful for the sweet friends in my life that teach me this by offering their own love in the face of darkness.
To the individual tonight- you cannot know the worlds that I think of you. You cannot understand the respect and reverence I have for your soul. You are such a strong, amazing human being and my life is better because of beautiful you. You are the fine china my friend. Sparkle on lady- you are on the top shelf of my china cabinet!