A Story For Everyone

There is a story for everyone you meet; a story behind everyone’s perception of the world around them-a reason why they dislike certain things and love others. But people aren’t born liking or disliking one certain thing over another, their experiences influenced their choices.

I, for instance, have a strong resistance to religious doctrine because it was used to instill a fear-a terrifying fear-of a higher power in me as a child. Now that I know better, I know that God is all the opposite of fear but I didn’t know that then and even though, I imagine that not all religious doctrine is intended to terrify people into submission, I steer clear of all religious practices.

And so it is with everything else in life, we live and our experiences change us. Usually into better, and kinder, human beings because they remind us of the things that our souls already know.

I am fortunate to have a job that I truly enjoy. The people that I interact with on a daily basis come to me looking for a home and the ones that do find one within the community where I work become more than just random strangers because I see them often enough that I become a constant in their life. With some of them, our interaction becomes about more than just customer service. Sometimes, it is also one of compassion and understanding.

Often times, I am the only person they will interact with on any given day and they place their trust in me enough to share parts of their lives with me that have nothing to do with my job.

I’ve had a grandmother ask me for prayers for a dying grandchild, a single mother share what a difficult time she is having with her son as she wipes tears of frustration from her face, and an elderly woman cry hysterically as she confesses that her memory is beginning to fail her with sheer panic in her eyes. I’ve had a son share his mother’s cancer diagnosis, a daughter cry over the sudden death of her father, and a wife tell me how difficult it is to cope with her veteran husband’s PTSD.

It breaks my heart to hear some of their stories and it inspire me to be a better person because they remind me of how important it is that I treat everyone I meet with kindness because it really is true that everyone we meet is indeed fighting battles we know nothing about. And although it isn’t always easy to deal with people, especially ones who are not on their best disposition, even they have something to teach me if I don’t let my ego get in the way of my seeing beyond their behavior.

There have been times when someone has been so angry at me that all I want to say to them is “I get you. I’ve been where you are. I really, really get you! It isn’t me that you are mad at me, you are mad at life! I really get you!”.

However, instead of doing that (because sharing my raw, and honest, truth is not what I get paid to do and because nobody who is having a melt down wants to hear a complete stranger’s life story), I do my best to sit through it and let them go on because I understand that everyone’s life is a process.

Eventually, there comes a time for each one of us when we’re done with the drama, and we’ve been through enough heartache that we’ve exhausted ourselves to the point of surrender; that is when our own inner work begins because we realize we don’t need to keep fighting, and punishing ourselves anymore.

I’ve learned that when I don’t have the words that will make someone feel better, just being silent in that moment with them is enough because I know from experience that, sometimes, no matter what I say to someone who is in the midst of their own battle, they will not hear me because they haven’t yet done all the suffering they need to do to recognize that they’ve had enough. Only they can determine when that is, no one else can do it for them. Until then, all we can do is treat them as compassionately as we wish others would have treated us when we most needed it, too.

A few days ago, someone asked me at work “Do you have tissue? So and so is sitting outside with a runny nose and she needs one. We’re not friends or anything; she doesn’t even talk to me but I’m a woman and she is one too and that’s enough for me to look out for her”. I couldn’t help but smile big as my heart filled with joy over such a simple act of kindness! How wonderful of someone to do something for someone else for the simple reason that they are human! So, you see? Nobody is alone here, we are truly all in this together!!

If right now, your battles seem endless and life seems unfair, I get you! I really, really get you!! I’ve been where you are before and it sucks but once you reach your “enough”, you will see that life does get better.

It’s not that your problems will go away over night, it’s that you will have been through enough that everything else after that will seem manageable because you will have figured out that you can’t control what others do but you can control how you choose to deal with the life you have-instead of fighting against it.

It takes doing our own hurting to realize that hurt people hurt others (but that mostly, they hurt themselves). And I wish that I could tell you that once you understand that, you won’t hurt ever again but the truth of it is that you will.

However, once you realize that there is no suffering that compares to the pain that you inflict upon yourself by holding on to past experiences, you will learn to let them go.

That alone makes a world of difference in how you perceive the things around you and how you live your life from then on.

I know that from experience too…

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