I saw a quote a friend posted on facebook this morning which said "be kind, everyone is fighting a hard battle". Could anything be more true? Just in the past few weeks I have had friends lose children, parents and spouses. I've had friends diagnosed with serious illnesses, some waiting on transplants to save thier lives, others facing extensive surgeries. Friends have recently lost jobs, had to put their loved ones in nursing homes, put down beloved pets. I know people who are barely paying their mortgages, worrying about how to provide Christmas presents for thier kids and keep food on the table. Everyone has something going on in their lives and outward appearances don't always clue us in. Be kind, everyone is fighting a hard battle. Another quote I have always loved is "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible".
Both of those quotes are great mantras for daily living. I wish I could say that I am always kind, but in truth I am not. I think that I used to be much better at being kind, but lately grief and maybe hormones have challenged me. I am impatient with people. I have very little tolerance these days for much of anything. Bad drivers, people who interrupt conversations, whiners, silliness, over-friendly clerks and servers, people who turn every conversation into something about them, inconsideration of others, politics...everything bothers me. I truly hope that my intolerance is because I am depressed and that as time moves on, all will get better. I know I don't feel like myself.
Certainly the holidays approaching are not helping my frame of mind. This time around, it isn't that I am just missing my dad but I am missing my entire family. My mom, my sister, Memaw, Papaw, Mawmaw and my sweet cousin Danny and all the other beloved aunts and uncles that have passed on. The emptiness dwelling in my heart right now is so vast. I remember the first time I visited Mammoth Cave as a kid, the guide walked us past a "bottomless pit" and told us if we threw a coin into it, we would never hear it hit the bottom. That is how deep my sorrow feels to me right now. I listen to others planning their holiday celebrations with thier big families and I feel like the most alone person in the world.
Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle. I am going to do my best to concentrate on that over the next few weeks. I am going to hold others in my heart who are walking the path of grief during this holiday season, as well. I am going to embrace the small family we are now and give thanks for each one. I am going to try to remember that everyone, stranger and friend alike, each one of us are doing battle. We are warriors one and all.