As we bump and bustle our way through life, we often don’t notice other people much, maybe never pause to wonder what they may be going through in life. Usually they are just the person in the way, or the one in front of us in line, or the one who is doing a dismally poor job of getting our order right. But if we could step back and see their interior lives, we may get a whole lot of patience in a hurry. Everybody is carrying a load of some kind. Everybody hurts.
Or, as Jon Pavlovitz says in this insightful article, everybody grieves:
Everyone around you; the people you share the grocery store line with, pass in traffic, sit next to at work, encounter on social media, and see across the kitchen table—are all experiencing the collateral damage of living. They are all grieving someone, missing someone, worried about someone. Their marriages are crumbling or their mortgage payment is late or they’re waiting on their child’s test results, or they’re getting bananas five years after a death and still pushing back tears because the loss feels as real as it did that first day.
Every single human being you pass by today is fighting to find peace and to push back fear; to get through their daily tasks without breaking down in front of the bananas or in the carpool line or at the post office.
Maybe they aren’t mourning the sudden, tragic passing of a parent, but wounded, exhausted, pain-ravaged people are everywhere, everydaystumbling all around us—and yet most of the time we’re fairly oblivious to them.
If we could keep this reality in the forefront of our mind as we make our way through the hustle and bustle, we would be gentler, kinder, more patient. And that would do a world of good for our weary world.