My friend shared a story. I’d say she’s an emotional person, empathetic, thinks with her heart as well as her mind. Also happens to be a hard skills, no nonsense, get the job done career woman. She reminds me of a caramel M&M. Somewhat hard exterior with a soft, warm inside.
She pulled over, in her car. And she cried. She didn’t even know why. I remember doing the same thing, years back. I don’t need to get into the details, but I remember playing Imagine Dragon’s, “It’s Time,” over and over. I’d pulled over and the tears streamed down my face. A flash flood. I never cry that hard. And I just couldn’t stop it.
I imagine she felt the same. She has different problems than mine, of course. But we both found ourselves acting in the same manner. It’s funny, because you wouldn’t have thought it. She also has so much good in her life. But so did I. I was in a good place, living in this amazing place with a job you might easily dream of. But I sat in my car and the tears flowed into my lap.
Odd how life works like that.
I think about how this affects us, not physically, but emotionally.
When life is tough, something like this can just push you over the edge. All the frustrations, fear, anger. All the people dying. Trapped in their homes. Cut off from their families. You wonder, why should I feel bad? I’m whole, I’m safe, I’m healthy. The world is hurting, but I am not. Why am I crying? Why do I feel bad?
Except it’s not about that. It’s about the fact you are lonely. You don’t feel worth much. Something else happened to you. You’ve been patiently waiting out a hard time. Whatever it might be.
You might be hurting right now. No, you are not at risk. You are managing life fine, but you are hurting because others are hurting around you. You feel for them, hurt for their sake. And perhaps you are not in the most wonderful, stable place at the moment. Normally you could handle this, no problem, but right now you just can’t.
Be kind to people through this craziness.
Always be kind, of course. But, perhaps now, be a little more so. It costs very little. A few extra moments of your time. A thoughtfully crafted message.
Take the time to sign that petition to help people in need. Make the donation. This is not the time to panic, but it is the time to step up and help our fellow humans.
And, just a word. Beyond signing petitions or making donations, look out and provide a kind word to the person you are sure needs no extra financial assistance or mental health access. Please don’t ignore the friend that has it all together. Somehow, nobody ever asks them, “Are you okay?” Because of course they are. Because that’s the person who pulls over to the side of the road and cries alone.
Right now, with the problems of the world, it can feel like a very sad, weighted blanket that cannot be shrugged off. And it’s not limited to a few of us, it’s all of us, feeling that collective worry and strain as a whole.
So, please be a little extra patient with folk. Maybe they saw a post that pushed them a little more than they expected. Heard a tough news story. Experienced -another- small disappointment. And every little thing can push them closer to the edge. Your act of unkindness might be just what pushes them over.
Sure, sometimes those tears are needed. Sometimes they do feel good. But if you push someone to tears, make sure it is because of kindness and not the other reason.