Each of us is fighting a battle that the rest of the world knows nothing about. Maybe you had a traumatic event that you see every time you close your eyes. It could be that you have feelings about something that would surprise your husband or wife so you keep them to yourself. Maybe you eat (or don’t eat) to deal with feelings that seem insurmountable and it’s how you feel like you can hold on to control. Perhaps you have paralyzing anxiety but cover it up with a pretty smile and small talk.
I remember riding home from the hospital after Heath was gone, numb and dying, and I thought “how can all these people just drive around like my world didn’t just crash and burn?” Of course they didn’t know. For all I know, they were rushing to the hospital I had just left to make some major medical decision for their loved one that would change their lives.
The thing is, is that every single person in the giant world has problems. It’s not just me and it’s not just you. The only difference is what those problems are and how each of us tackles (or runs from) each one.
There’s the single mom that is mom and dad to her children, never letting them know that she is running on fumes as she works 2 jobs and isn’t always there for every school event.
There’s the husband that works all day, then comes home exhausted but goes to school online to give his family a better life, so his children can have more than he did.
The retired lady that lives off her pitifully small social security check and counts pennies at the register while some teenager huffs about how long it is taking. She has to keep track of every cent so that she can make ends meet.
The little old man that sits next to his wife’s bed at the nursing home every day for the last 10 years since she began to need care that he couldn’t give. She dozes while he is thinking back on their 50 years of marriage.
The parents that rotate who is going to be at the hospital with their sick child and who will be home with the healthy ones, juggling kids and work and medical bills while hoping and praying that their little person can go home soon.
That disabled veteran that should be playing with his kids, but instead has agonizing PTSD that makes daily life next to impossible. He’s trying to act “normal” while reliving the things he saw with every blink.
Then there are the parents that just made the decision to take their premature baby off the ventilator. They are going to be planning a funeral and choosing a gravestone instead of having a homecoming party.
You’ve probably seen all of these people, you just didn’t know that’s who they were.
Is one problem worse than the other? The answer to that depends on who you ask. If you ask me, they are all difficult beyond measure.
The point of all this is to remember that you’re not alone. We’re all fighting battles. We all have stuff we need to work on, but you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Reach out to those that love you. Don’t just say “fine” when someone asks how you are. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help. It is brave, amazing thing to admit that you’re not really “okay.”
One thing is very true: we all get one life. Make the very most of it.