Saturday, January 29, 2011

Weighty Branches

We should be kinder. We should work harder to understand that others are challenged by their lives and we should try hard not to be judgmental of those challenges. What seems to be "no big deal" to one man, may be quite devastating to another. Who are we to evaluate what others are going through? Who are we to say how long a person has to resolve their issues or to get over their hurt or their grief?

People have burdens. There's no escaping them; they are a natural part of life. We all have our own stresses and our own trials. Plato's quote comes to mind, “Be Kind for Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Great Battle”. Perhaps not all the troubles a person faces will be Great Battles but the sentiment should be the same.

This week I have spoken to people who are struggling. I found myself giving a little advice to a new friend who is saddened by the negativity and bitterness he sees in others. I patiently listened to an old friend who spoke of her anger and frustration; she's feeling hurt and betrayed. I try to be there for others but I am not always sure how much I am helping. Still, for each friend, family member, or coworker I talk to, there are countless others who keep their pains hidden. The ones who do the most for others are probably the ones who are afraid to stop and admit to their feelings of heaviness. For if they falter, if they cry or fall down, they fear they may not be strong enough to pick themselves back up, and then they'll be of no service to their loved ones.

Like everyone else, I have my burdens. I talk about the specifics with a couple of close friends and when I stuff my feelings down so much in regards to other pains I dare not often speak of, I find myself in tears at the most inappropriate times. I find myself tearing up at work. My tears fall in the middle of Mass. Today I even found myself with tears of sadness during the funniest part of the movie I watched. Try as I might, I can't function without that release valve working. But I'll be okay. I know this too will pass. I am blessed to have those dear friends watching out for me. And in return I will always have their backs.

I am truly not one to throw advice at people. But today I want to offer just one small piece. If your branches feel heavy today, be good to yourself, be patient with yourself. Let go, let God. And when your burdens are lessened and you feel your strength returning, reach out to someone else who may need a friend. Don't be fooled by all the smiles you see around you. We're all in need of a good friend. We all need someone to listen, someone to empathize, someone to hold onto us without judgment. Be kind.

1 comment:

  1. Anne, I like your heavy branches metaphor. I've found that a sincere, positive comment can lighten the burdens of most people (whether or not I know what they're dealing with). If they're having a good day, my comment might give them one more thing to smile about.

    That reminds me: I check your blog everyday to see if you've written something new. Even when I can't find the time or words to comment right away, I'm always reading and enjoying the thoughts you share. Thank you.