The other day (don’t ask me which day because the days of the past two weeks have blurred into each other) I read something that stuck with me.
I don’t know where I saw it but the words hammered on that little bell in my head and I stored them away for future reflection.
The question was asked “If each person had the suffering they have endured in life written on their forehead would you treat them any differently”?
My first thought was “You’d need more space than my forehead for my family” but then I stopped thinking selfishly to ponder the words. I mean I really spent some time in thought on this.
When tragedy strikes a person or family, it creates a ripple effect amongst those around them. The ripples can spread quite some distance and can affect people you may not have even thought it would.
Grief causes people to act in ways that they may not usually behave. They may say things that they wouldn’t normally even consider.
Tragic circumstances can bring out both the best and the worst in a person. Those suffering grief are also more easily affected by the words and actions of those around them.
When you live these times in life with your emotions so close to the surface they become raw.
If some of the people who crossed our paths over the past weeks or so had words depicting their own suffering on their forehead would it have changed the way we thought about them at the time? Would I have reacted any differently to the way in which I did?
To be honest I’m not really sure where I am going with this.
In recent days I have found myself easily annoyed by others, however this meme I found yesterday on Facebook sums me up quite well.
Sure this made me laugh but only because it has become quite true of me in the past year or so. However, I am no saint and I did (and still do) get annoyed at the smallest things surrounding the events and the reactions of people in the past week. After some reflection I am learning to put that annoyance aside when I think about the reasons behind the words said or the actions taken and I am working on ‘calming my farm’ (as my son would say).
If every person had their suffering on their forehead, would it make us kinder? More gentle? More understanding?
Or should we be like that anyway?
It’s really hard to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, but when we do it makes the world a better place to be.
Not every person wishes to share their suffering with others.
Not every person advertises when they are hurting.
Many people hold it inside and those around them are none the wiser to what is unfolding in their lives.
Therefore, if we treat every person in the same way that we wish to be treated then we’ve got to be doing something right.
If we put aside our judgements we become better people.
Heck! I’m not perfect.
After reminding The Son numerous times to look past the words and actions of people and find their intent (because many people don’t know what to say and do around a person who is grieving and inadvertently offend or hurt), he had to remind me of my own words after I became upset about something myself.
As I said earlier, when there have been tragic circumstances, people react either in their best way or in the worst. In the past fortnight, I have witnessed both.
But I keep reminding myself that there are reasons for the actions of these people and I may not always know them.
Therefore, in the absence of not knowing what their own personal journey through life has been like, I need to treat each person with the respect that I accord myself and those I love.
It is a lesson I have learned.
It is a lesson that I am still learning.
Sometimes I get an ‘A’ and sometimes it’s a ‘D-‘ but it’s all a learning process.
This thing called Life is a funny thing….