The struggle can mean different things for different people. A person’s struggle, past or present, can shape them into the person they are today. You never know a person’s struggle until you talk to them and they tell you personally. You think you know someone, you think they have a great, easy life full of happiness only to find out it is the complete opposite. I for one smile a lot. That’s just me, it’s who I am. I am generally and genuinely happy 95% of the time. I choose happiness, but that doesn’t mean my life hasn’t had it’s share of sadness and pain.
My childhood was challenging and full of unhappy times. For years the unhappiness outweighed the good times. I know for a certainty that the only way I got through those times was with the help of God and surrogate fathers who took an interest in me and took me under their wings. Later on in life I had to deal with a lot of loss and tragedies. Not a lot of people knew what I was going through, and I kept smiling despite it all. It wasn’t something I talked about at first because it was so painful and fresh. Later on I did start to share with others and it turned out to be the best thing I did. I found out that I wasn’t the only one and I found a support group of friends, young and old, that I could lean on.
It is so important to get to know people before you pass judgement. You don’t know their story, you don’t know their struggle. You’d be amazed at what you learn about a person over a cup of coffee, taking a walk, having lunch or dinner with them, or just simply sitting and shooting the breeze. I’ve done this recently with someone I always considered to be a friend, someone I’ve known for years, but I didn’t know her story or her struggle until she shared it with me. We both shared our stories and struggles with each other and we were amazed. At times I got choked up because I truly didn’t know where she found the strength to endure the things she endured. I left with such a deep respect for my friend. She inspired me, she encouraged me, and she gave me hope. She was a reminder of how I need to rely on God even more, how I need to throw ALL of my burdens upon Him, and not just when things are going bad. Our long conversation was faith strengthening and beautiful because it wasn’t all sadness and tragedy. We shared with each other how we overcame, how we triumphed and became stronger women and stronger human beings as a result. We became better mothers, providers, mates, and friends because of our struggles.
These are the moments I live for. I love people, I love getting to know people. I don’t expect anyone to share their life story with me, I don’t talk to you to be nosy and find out gossip. I talk to people because I am genuinely interested in them. Whatever people share with me it’s because they want to share, not because I’m badgering them or fishing for information. You can learn something from everyone you encounter, and that’s what I strive to do on a daily basis. Strive to take an active interest in people. You’d be surprised at their story, and their struggle.
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