I ran across this quote on Facebook yesterday and it launched me into some thinking about the people I know in real life and "know" on The Facebook. I thought about the way people navigate the ups and downs that come along. There are those who post about every bruise, both literal and figurative... and there are others who never seem to show any wear n' tear...never talk about the struggles...never ask for help. So, why is that? I suppose some of it could be pride... the need to keep up the image that they've got it all together. But, some of it may just be that they don't have anyone who knows them well enough and sees them in a real enough way that they feel safe to talk about what is heavy and ask for help. There may be some people who feel that admitting they're in a hole has only brought criticism or judgement or advice in the past and they're not going to make that mistake again. And, then I thought about my friend Carolyn.
Carolyn was the most godly person I have ever known personally. We met in college and reacquainted as adults when our kids were in school together. I watched Carolyn live, live with cancer and die. She did it all really well. She accessed all the power of the Holy Spirit within her to live the way that He said she could...to bear and carry that burden... to live as an overcomer and a victor...even to and in death. As the disease ate away at her physical body her spirit remained triumphant and her smile was radiant. Carolyn could have pulled up into a fetal position and received all the outpouring of love that surrounded her...but she choose to show God and His power at work in her rather than receive any pity. It was an actual picture of "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength". With His help she carried it well. But surely, that didn't mean it wasn't awfully heavy.
I was walking and talking with a friend the other day who mentioned a couple of ladies who head up her mom's prayer group. She shared with me the "ah ha" moment when she realized that these faithful ladies had been there for years for the women in her group...ready to come along side them and pray with them and support them in their hard times, yet she had never thought to pray for them. She realized that it had been easy to overlook their "humanity"... that they might have difficulties and struggles because they seemed so godly and strong and didn't talk about their own needs. Of course they have hard and heavy things to deal with. As long as we are living we all will. Even the Bible said "...When you encounter troubles..." It doesn't say "If you have troubles".
...Makes me think of another quote I've seen... "Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Always be kind."