Pain and Joy
Life’s Constant Companions
Yesterday, I watched a funeral of a 29 year old woman who died of cancer. The man eulogizing her talked about a woman who knew her life would be cut short, she was aware she would not live to see her son grow up or even start school. She would never get to realize most of her dreams. But, through it all, the dying woman, the one who had the right to be upset with her lot in life continually pleaded to all who would listen to choose joy.
The speaker said he knew everyone was in pain, that in life in general, we all were in pain most days to some extent, then he said:
“If we could take our collective pain and lay it out for everyone to see, it would just break us all. But yet, in life, moments of joy bubble through.”
It made me think long and hard about some realities of life. Everyone we know has, to some degree or another, suffered things and usually has daily pain which we know nothing of.
There are people who are very vocal about their pain. Those people are usually the ones who have suffered the least. The ones who have suffered great pain usually keep silent about their suffering because silence is easier than acknowledging something that would bring them to their knees.
I am as guilty as the next person of tossing off a rude remark if someone does something foolish nor I feel they are not paying full attention to their surroundings when I think they should be. But who am I to judge why that person is distracted? Is it my right to say something because I was inconvenienced by someone when I have no idea what is happening to cause their behavior?
We hear the the occasional tale of someone whose life was changed for the better by a friend or stranger doing a kind deed or saying just the right words at just the right time. There are, undoubtedly, stories of people whose lives took a downward turn because of something similar people said or did.
Now that I’ve said all this, I will say that I know I’m not perfect, I’m not even going to make a lofty promise to never say anything mean to anyone ever again. But today, at least today, I will do my best to remember to be kind.
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