"be kind--everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -plato
This quotation is hanging in a bathroom of a coffee shop here in Charlottesville. I remember the first time I read it, it stopped me dead in my tracks. I was having one of those days where I was cornered inside my own head. It was one of those days where you can't stop the momentum of your internal dialogue. You're constantly on the verge of talking out loud to yourself..in public. I was going through a hard time,
a really hard one.
I think we're allowed to go through those times.
We're all allowed to go through seasons where our life and our thoughts and our pain and our prayers and our journal entires are all about us.
But we're not allowed to stay there.
Because, you see,
everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
I think that when I went through my own season of pain, I thought that I was the only one.
Am I allowed to admit that?
My sister, Kiki, is known for her gift of empathy. She can so easily put herself in anothers' shoes, so to speak, hike a mile or two, then know exactly how they feel. I can't do that. I wish I could. Which is why that quotation struck me.
It came to me in my yoga class the other day. I was going through my poses, thinking about the iced coffee I would buy to reward myself. I thought about how blessed I am---how I love my husband and my job and my friends and my family and my bed and my netflix and my church and my mailman and my garden.
Then, across the room, a woman started weeping--weeping uncontrollably. She took choked, uneven gasps to catch her breath. She turned onto her side and sobbed into her yoga mat.
She was fighting a hard battle.
The reason for my telling you about this woman is not to embarrass her or tell a sad story.
Rather, I need to repent.
You see, after class let out, I just left. I said not a word to a hurting woman. God gave me an opportunity and I was too embarrassed to take it. I felt awkward and uncomfortable and full of excuses, and I let that keep me from doing the right thing.
When I was fighting a hard battle, I had many loving women surrounding me. I had people investing in my life--praying for my heart, checking in on my spirit. I was given much during that time, and I didn't give it back.
I write this to keep myself accountable, and for you all to help keep me accountable, too.
I have a tattoo on my right ankle, which I fear I have neglected this past year. I originally got it so that I would never forget to live it out. I admit that I have forgotten. It says "Isaiah 1:17"
"Seek justice. Encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless. Plead the case of the widow."
May I never let another opportunity pass. May my heart be softened and not calloused. May you all keep me to that. I am encouraged by your hearts. Thank you for that. Each of you is a gift to me.