‘Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a battle’ is a quote most of us are familiar with. From personal experience, I believe this quote to be accurate; everyone is undergoing a hardship of sorts. The condition of living is such that no one gets out unscarred, no one escapes unscathed. Living is not for the faint-hearted, it requires tenacity; and we emerge wearing our battle scars like a badge of honour.
A few years ago after a traumatic event, I concluded that what mattered in life was relationships; that and pursuing our life’s calling. That when faced with the end, it’s all we will think about, the only regret we will have, the only peace we will get as we transition to eternity will come from the relationships we nurtured and the love we gave and received.
It’s easy to see the ‘wretched’ as suffering, but, like God, pain is no respecter of persons. The rich are afraid too, probably just as much as everyone else, if not more. They suffer the fear of losing it all, they worry for their progeny, they fret about how to build wealth for their next generation of heirs, things such as terminal illness are beyond the reach of money… show kindness there too.
What can we humans do to ease the burdens of life? How do we make it all worthwhile? It’s important to first understand that life is the greatest gift of all. Good health, especially a sound mind, is a close second. Love comes after because we can survive without it; maybe not thrive, but survive we can.
We ease the burdens of life by taking care of ourselves and each other. As we live through our traumas, we can find ourselves hurtling aimlessly through life, twisting in the wind without a clue as to how to anchor ourselves. Be your brother’s keeper, help them anchor to something, whether that be religion or some other belief-system.
Do you love the life you live? If not, within divine limits, we can always redefine our existence and make it count for something we value. We can design the life we want in the realm of what’s within our control. For if we all loved the lives we live, we would all grow in love and confidence. And happy individuals make for a happy society. We would expand our gifts and talents and expend them all on each other in this lifetime. We would love fully and naturally, dispersing all that loving kindness to everyone around.
I submit that if pain and suffering is the great equaliser for all, then love and kindness is the great unifier. Think about it, that has to be it -the common denominator, the healing balm towards which we all must strive. We’re here but for a season, so it would make sense that we seek to simplify and distil our lives’ journeys to the most basic and fundamental equation: Love what you do + Be happy = Share the loving kindness.
I leave you with this quote to ponder over: ‘I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.’ ~ Etienne De Grellet, Quaker missionary. Selah