There is an acquaintance whom I don’t know very well, but what I do know of her I like. She is one of the sweetest people I know; her countenance and demeanor (not to mention her words) just ooze kindness. On top of her inward beauty, she is outwardly beautiful and always looks totally put together, despite having two adorable little ones at home who keep her hopping. She could easily be the kind of person that I might resent because she just seems so perfect–but she’s so darn sweet and likable that it’s impossible to not want to be friends with her.
A few weeks ago I heard some startling news about this acquaintance, regarding some rather serious marital problems that she and her husband are having. A casual observer such as myself would probably never have guessed that her seemingly idyllic family and life was in such turmoil. My heart aches for the pain that she is going through, and I’ve found myself praying for her and her family, especially her little ones, several times these past couple of weeks.
Another story: Just the other day I learned that another acquaintance and her family are dealing with some major, life-changing problems with one of her adult children. Again, just by looking at this woman and engaging in our usual small talk, I probably would not have discerned that she was dealing with such a heavy load.
These two recent stories are serving to remind me that you just never know what kinds of burdens other people are dealing with every day. I’ll be the first to admit that I am quick to judge others and (often wrongfully) assume that if they look composed and confident on the outside, then everything’s hunky-dory in their world. I’ll also admit that I am often so caught up in my own little world that I am probably missing some signs or signals that people may be putting out that they’re actually hurting and in need of encouragement.
So my challenge to myself (and to you, if you choose to accept) is to look beyond my own happenings and try to be more sensitive to those around me who may be fighting some hard battles. And above all, to be kind, because you never know who might need that kind word or action at just that moment.