Depression and suffering look like a lot of things—so different for each sufferer. It’s being pulled into the past, into regrets that are anchored in, almost always, someone else’s wrongful action, someone’s deeply hurting words, something that branded young and fast— and this pain has stuck deeply.
And everyday we walk around surrounded by people who suffer—and some so much more than others.
What of the mother grappling with inexplicable daily darkness that she cannot explain, for fear of being misunderstood, for fear of platitudes sending her deeper into despair? Or the father grappling with an abusive childhood, so solidly marked on his soul that he near daily has to deal with old wounds opening when someone provokes in the same way his authority figures had? Or the young woman grappling with sexual abuse at the hands of what should have been a trusted family member—what of her daily open wound? Or those who experience trauma—exile, earthquake, hurricane, regime, the swiping of support for those with chronic conditions? The cavalier fun-making of those with mental illness? The disowning of those with different sexual orientation, left to their own misgivings about themselves, with no loving support or help?
The bottom line of so many of these and more is that simple listening and accepting would be the basic form of compassion—never mind putting support to the health programs, support groups, and institutions designed to help the most vulnerable, those who walk among us with wounds we cannot see, gaping and affecting the core of the soul.
It is a source of massive distress to me and many of my friends and family to see most of the little helps being crushed, to see currently an attitude of callousness wrapped up in principle. I strive daily to be genuine in my approach to others, to offer not platitudes but presence, acceptance. I guess today I felt the need to write this and call for mindfulness of others’ pain and journey through it—understanding that sometimes we cannot see the full extent of armor that some must wear just to make it through the day, or what it would take to pull off that armor bit by bit. Pray—certainly pray—for the alleviation of such souls—but then do something that would make a real difference, even just one someone daily. Maybe then we can start overcoming the sorrows of the world, and play our daily part in the creation of peace.