Recently I saw a social media post by a popular blogger I follow about how she was having “one of those days.” You know the kind–you wake up late, you spill your coffee, you get stuck in traffic, work sucks, you come out to a flat tire, etc.
She asked if anybody could relate, and let me tell you, the comment section ran the gamut of people who could (more than) relate. People were having beyond your typical bad days. Mourning that they were sending kids off to college or first days of kindergarten. The tragic loss of parents or siblings. Family members diagnosed with cancer. Laid off from their jobs. In the throws of divorce and custody battles. Some people dealing with several of these things at once. You name it, it was there.
It got me thinking about how we all know. No one makes it out of their lifetime completely unscathed. We get battered and bruised by the obstacles life throws at us. We often get caught up in our own heads while we’re down in the trenches sifting through the mud and muck, so it’s easy to forget that we’ve all been there. We may not be able to relate to each others’ exact circumstances at any given moment, but we all know that feeling of being punched in the gut, sucking in air, trying to survive. Not just making it through the day, but through the next 30 seconds.
This idea was still on my mind when I started watching Steel Magnolias (for approximately the 600th time) recently. It’s one of my absolute favorites and I can quote pretty much the entire thing. But this time, one line in particular stood out to me, brilliantly delivered by one of my personal heroes, Dolly Parton.
“Everybody has a story.”
-Truvy Jones, Steel Magnolias
So simple, but so true. In her case, it’s more about gossip than about our struggles, but it’s still a good reminder. I think this is important to remember as we go through our day-to-day lives, and especially in times of struggle. You’ve been there, and you’ll probably be there again multiple times. You’re living your story. But so is everyone else. That means that some days are going to be really really difficult. Hell on Earth, even. But you’re not alone, even when it feels like you are. It’s not a competition of whose problems are worse, because today it might be mine and tomorrow, yours.
My hope is that the next time you find yourself in the trenches, battling the demons, you’ll remember this and find a way to connect with others. Surround yourself with the kind of people who not only celebrate your wins, but share your losses and help you fight battles, both big and small. Be the kind of person who lifts people up on their dark days. We all have our stories, our struggles, but we’re so much better at conquering them together. And we’re better when we’re loving each other, period.
“Loving people means caring without an agenda.”
-Bob Goff, Everybody Always
Love your people without an agenda. That means we aren’t trying to get something in return. We aren’t trying to change someone else by loving them. We’re just loving them for loving them’s sake. When our people are hurting, we aren’t comparing stories or offering solutions, we’re just loving them. When our people are shutting down, we’re reaching out to give them strength.
Being able to rely on others when you need to is so powerful. Being there for each other is what life is all about. Loving someone isn’t just an emotion, it’s a choice. To love means to will the good of the other. When it comes to truly living, to love one another is as essential as breathing.
May we all have people in our lives who love us unconditionally. May we all be the people who love each other unconditionally.
P.S. If you’re struggling today, and you need extra love or extra prayers, I hope you’ll reach out and ask me or someone else to share that load with you. I’m in your corner and sending you all my love.