It is a line from one of my favorite books by Tom Robbins. The character in the story that proclaims it is dying of rectal cancer. I read the book for the first time almost twenty years ago now, and it has always been very important to me. This specific line in particular; all through my life, I have never seen it disproved. I mean, unless there are a bunch of people out there living super idyllic lives that I have never managed to bump into…everyone that I know has gone through their own sort of hardship or lived through some sort of hell. It is a really important reason for all of us to try and be gentle with other human beings, and to always attempt to give them space to speak their truth. The things that people I know have lived through range from the heartbreaking to the truly un-believable. I have been told some of these stories by people that I had barely even met who chose to open up to me. In the end though, it seems that the difficult things we go through, never fail to make us a little stronger and a little more human along the way.
A lot of the people that I know who have lived through the hardest challenges end up dedicating their lives to helping other people. Some people come out the other end just seeking to find some sense of normalcy in life. Oftentimes, people are struggling far more than we are able to recognize, even when we are very close to them. On the one hand, depending how we are brought up, many of us are taught to suffer in silence, and then others of us just have a horrible time enduring sympathy, or even receiving advice. I believe that humans collectively fear being pitied, and that is one of the reasons that we all suffer so stubbornly, alone.
The thing is that we just haven’t gotten to a spiritually evolved point where we are good at being nosey with completely honest intentions. It is a result of most of us being taught to mind our business as children, and that other people deserve their privacy, and that being curious about someone else’s private behaviors is rude. Yes, it is very disrespectful, and highly destructive to gossip, but simply being concerned about the people that we care for is not. It is a truth that many of our friends could be helped and comforted greatly, on any random day, just by being asked how they are with genuine concern. Inquiring as to our friends emotional wellness reminds them that we care about them and gives them an opportunity to hand over some of the load that they are carrying on their shoulders.
By sharing these burdens we contribute to caring for the people that we love. How sad is it that there are often times when our friends are suffering and we don’t even know that they are in need of our help? I do believe that it takes a community to raise a child, but I also believe that it takes a community to care for each adult as well. Even with our ridiculously busy lifestyles, it is still always possible for us to find times to check in, and to check up on one another. It has become so easy in society today for people to isolate themselves, which is the exact thing that people who are suffering will tend to do. Reaching out can mean more to someone than you may possibly realize. Simply being there for the people that you love when they are navigating rough waters; is a wonderful thing to be.