Saturday, September 3, 2011

Straight to the Heart of the Matter

First, before you read any of what I write, you have to go over and read this post over at Brave Girls. It made me cry. I related. I thought. I cried.

One time, a long time ago... my husband worked at Inkley's. I was going to visit him at work, and for some reason the traffic was ridiculous that day. I waited in the left turn lane, with a parking spot right there in my sight, for what seemed like forever. It was the only parking spot on the road, and I was signaling, showing it was mine. When it looked like traffic was about to clear, someone turned right, right into my spot. I was so mad. I flipped around on the road, had to drive a block away and walk to the store. Couldn't they see that I had been waiting and signaling for that spot?

Then, I walk into the store, and a man comes up to me and says "I am so sorry, I didn't realize that you were there until after I had already pulled in." I forgave him immediately, but the real lesson came later... he had come into Inkley's to bring photos to be developed. Photos of his wife and newborn baby... his wife, who had died right after childbirth just days before.

I could not believe that I had even had one thought of anger. When his whole life had been ripped apart, turned upside down... I had been worried about a parking space. A parking space! I would have stood there for the whole day saving it for him, if I had known. But that's the thing... so often we don't know. We don't even have the blessing of finding out after the fact what "sign" a person might be wearing most of the time. We just judge, treat harshly, and think of ourselves.

I've had my own struggles... times where I smile to everyone, but I am wondering how I'm going to make it through the next day... times where my pillow is wet from crying and I can't sleep, where my fears are so great that I can't breathe. Times where I wish somebody could really know what I'm going through and not say things that make everything that much harder... even when they have no intention of hurt. I'm willing to bet that more of us are struggling in private than any of us will ever know. We can't share everything... we don't want to share everything... but wouldn't that make the world a little kinder, easier place if we just knew when gentleness was needed?

Here's my challenge for myself... to remember that there is never a time when gentleness isn't needed. Yes, it's that simple, yet so complex. I will do my best... will you?

What signs are you wearing right now? You can share anonymously... I think the more we realize that so many are going through such real struggles, the more compassion we will have for each other.


tracy said...

Ooohhh, I LOVE your story and thoughts. I'm thrilled to pieces that the article connected with someone as deeply as it connected with me.

I love you Mindy...thank you for continuing to love me!

Anonymous said...

My husband has little interest in creating the type of life and marriage I always dreamed of having. My heart is broken and I feel lost within myself.

Mindy said...

Anonymous #1 (I hope there are others eventually)... my heart aches for you. That is probably one of those things that nobody would know that you are going through, but something that would be devastating to go through. Hugs. I hope you get gentleness given to you, and I pray that your husband eventually comes around. I also pray that you can not feel lost, even if you never get what you need from your husband.

Tawnie said...

"Be kind. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle."
I love that quote because it is so real and has been so real to me at times in my life. Sometimes I want to say "Be nice to me. You have no idea what I am going through!!!" But then I try to think about what they might be going through that I don't know about. What a great post. It would be kind of nice to wear a sign announcing our struggles. Just for day? It might do this world a whole lot of good.
Thanks Mindy.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this article. At a particularly difficult time in life, my sign would have said, "My husband has been out of work for months and my father was just (wrongly) accused of being a sex offender. We've spent almost a year with limited income and fighting a losing battle in the justice system." I cannot think of a time in life where I have felt more broken or more strengthened. Some people don't need to see a sign, they just sense the need and share all the love they can. I hope one day I can be that kind of person.

Mindy said...

Anonymous 2... it is amazing how sometimes the hardest times in our lives are the times that we end up gaining the most strength. I am glad that it happened for you that way, and hoping that things are better for you now. Thank you for sharing!

Charlotte said...

Thank you for sharing. The article was worth every second it took to read. I hope I see people differently and act with more compassion.

Rachel Holloway said...

I read this post the other day and have thought about the many signs I wear--and how I could even put words to some of them. But mostly, I have thought about how others must feel--situations they may be in...and how we could all just be a little more gentle with each other.

Mike, Sha, Kenna, Kate, & Garrett said...

That was a great article. I have tried to remember this, but sometimes it is hard to look past the end of our noses. Great reminder.

I have noticed a trend in some of your post lately. Hope you are doing okay. People say it and don't mean it, but I am here if you need me and I mean it. Love ya!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. I needed a reminder to be more gentle in my thoughts and actions. It is so easy to be quick to judge. I have certainly learned the last two years that many, if not all of us, have silent hurts and trials.

Betsy said...

My life was turned upside down last week with the death of my 11 yr old dog. My pets are my kids and I am grieving so deeply, but of course society expects us to just get over it, because, "it's just a dog." As I was at the store the other day, trying to keep the expression on my face neutral as to not betray my roller-coaster emotions, the thought struck me that we never know what is going on in a person's life, or what they're feeling, just by looking at them. They could be trying just as hard as I am, trying to keep their face neutral to hide the heartbreak.

Katariina said...

Betsy, I have been there, when my shitzu was killed back in 1989, I was devastated and couldn't stop crying for days; my work (the Marine Corps)didn't understand. To them I was weak, "it was just a dog!" But to me, he was my baby.

I've had many battles since with little regard from strangers, but how many have I overlooked & not been compassionate or kind enough?

I read that article on Brave Girls a few weeks ago and it's been on my mind since. I can't believe I am running across it again. I

I think I should post it on my blog, just keep the wave flowing. It is a powerful wave!


Anonymous said...

I realize this blog has been shut down for a while but, just wanted you to know I challenged ALL of my Facebook friends to read the posting from Brave Girl. If they didn't see a change in their perspective or feel a desire to reach out to their fellow man, I invited them to delete me from their friends list.