I know I've been writing a lot since starting this blog, and I'm not always this "talkative" but I've learned to enjoy the times when I can sit and think!
A simple comment last night got me thinking again- I won't go into all the details of it because it really was just something kind of said in passing, and I wasn't the one saying it so I don't want to embarrass anyone. What it did, though, was to make me realize that we never really know where someone has been, what they've been through. All that we see is them here and now. Maybe what we see is someone who looks beautiful, seems successful, appears to have it all together. What are we not seeing? What kinds of pains and trials has that person had to make it through to get where they are today? We may not always appreciate the fact that they have fears and insecurities of their own, that they have things that they need reassurance about too.
Another good friend of mine made the comment that she wouldn't trade her trials for anyone else's... and that has really stuck with me. We each have such vastly different experiences here on earth. Some may deal with abuse, depression, wayward children, illness, or family challenges. (The list could literally go on forever!) How can we look at any other person and judge how they are facing their challenges? None of us will ever be able to literally walk a mile in someone else's shoes. Sometimes we'll be able to sympathize and other times to empathize, especially when we've been through something similar, but there is no way for us to really comprehend every facet of what another person is facing. The only thing we can do is to show compassion and work to have charity for others. (Yes, I said "work"... it doesn't always come naturally to us!) We need to set aside our pre-conceived notions of how things should be and what the perfect person is like and instead reach out and try to share love with others. We need to be so much more patient with others, especially when they don't seem to be living up to our own expectations.
I realize this is so much easier said than done. I'm in no way perfect at it, and obviously need plenty of reminders, but wouldn't it be great to know that the people around you are rooting for you, instead of waiting to gloat over your failures? Wouldn't it be awesome to know that you will be accepted for who you are, just the way you are, and that others are going to cheer every time you make an improvement? If we do unto others as we would have done unto us, I think that's what we would be doing... cheering, encouraging, helping, loving. Anything to help those around us become who God intended them to be.
I'll end this one with a thought from one of Max Lucado's books: (hope I don't get in trouble for using it!)
God loves you just the way you are. If you think his love for you would be stronger if your faith were, you are wrong. If you think his love would be deeper if your thoughts were, wrong again. Don't confuse God's love with the love of people. The love of people often increases with performance and decreases with mistakes. Not so with God's love. He loves you right where you are. He loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way.
- 'You! God's Brand-New Idea' by Max Lucado, p.100-101