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I’m burdened.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve been to the depths of despair in our battle with and for Trey.  Maybe it’s because I have suffered, been comforted, and now comfort others.  It could be due to the fact that people share their stories with me (which I greatly welcome) and I have seen and heard so much hurt in others.  Whatever the case, I have seen the pain that many go through and know that no one is exempt.

This is nothing new.  I’ve always seemed to the “that guy” that people could talk to about their problems/issues.  Since Trey that has only magnified.  However, a page has turned if you will.  There is a deeper burden that I have felt lately.  It’s not their stories, it’s not their situation, it’s not even their pain that has me heavy.  It is the overwhelming reality that so many are facing so much…and few know what to do with it.

As a brief (I promise) example, look at the tsunami of uproarious indignation over the Gorilla incident in Cincinnati.  Social media (media in general for that matter) can’t decide who is most to blame.  Is it the mom? The child?  The zoo?  Maybe we should be angry about those who are angry?

Everyone is an expert on everyone else.  WE know how to drive.  WE know what our favorite sports team should do.  WE know how to run the business we work for better than the bosses.  WE would have prepared our food better than the chef/cooks at the restaurant, WE would have coached the team better, WE wouldn’t raise our kids THAT way…etc.  Why?  Could it be that we look (although we really try not to) at our own lives and feel powerless to change things?  Could it be that although we have changed this or that, the pain that comes our way or has haunted us from our past is way too daunting?  Could it be that if we can focus on someone else’s fault we don’t look at our own mess?

It doesn’t take a therapeutic master to figure out the hurt in the Cincinnati tragedy.  Imagine how many things the mom must be feeling.  How much guilt, insecurity, fear, inadequacy must she be experiencing?  What of the zoo officials?  How many people are answering for the poor construction of the gorilla exhibit?  Who might lose their jobs?  How many are afraid that they might lose their jobs?  How guilty do they feel regardless of what might happen to them?  What of the officials who decided to shoot the gorilla?  How much trauma was involved in that?  What about the one who pulled the trigger?  What are their dreams like?  Lastly, how about the child?  What kind of damage did that do to such a young life?

However, it’s just easier to point out the wrong that occurred.  It’s easier to say what you would have done.  It’s easier to click and share than to respect those in pain.  It’s much much much easier than looking at and even more so, feeling your own pain.  

We swallow it, shove it down, lock it up, bolt it in real tight.  It’s gone, done with, over, forget about it.  Why bring THAT up again?  No need to hash up old hurts.  You’re right, they’ll come up on their own every time that you’re not sitting on top of that black box of emotions that you keep right there in your gut.  However, they get filtered through some defense mechanism that you have there.  It morphs those pains into other feelings and emotions that you can direct on others.

There is so much to each and every person I meet.  It doesn’t take me long to see what’s lying there…under the surface.  You know what it is every time?  Hurt.  Pain.  Sorrow.  That’s not all that everyone is, but it’s in everyone.

I’m burdened.  Not that everyone has pain…that’s not going to change.  It’s that people aren’t healing through open, honest, and vulnerable communication, through receiving comfort and comforting others.  It’s just easier to pretend that it’s not there.

Lastly, imagine a world (your world) where you could let your guard down.  Imagine if people gave you the benefit of the doubt.  What if people assumed that you were doing your best?  How would it be to get out all of the hurts in your life and have someone listen and care rather than one up you or tell you to get over it?  I yearn for a world (at least my world) that looks like that.  It starts with listening, loving, and looking at people deeper than what they present to you and seeing…just beneath the surface.

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