A friend shared some heartbreaking news with me recently. News that, while it didn't directly affect me and my every day, brought up an old deep heartache. This heartache brought back a mantra I say multiple times a day and is something I want to share with you - if you haven't heard me say it already (which, if you spend any time around me, you've definitely heard it).
Yes, I know this is obvious but, sometimes I need to remind myself that we are all humans, inherently flawed, each dealing with our own burdens and struggles. We all are acting from our own perspectives, our own personal history, our own hurt and life experiences. We each have needs, wants, desires, unique ways we are fulfilled, unique ways we are gifted and unique ways we respond to the life happening in and around us. Each and every one of us are in need of unconditional love, grace, forgiveness and understanding.
I remind myself when the person in the checkout line in front of me does something to annoy me, "people are people, Alyson, be kind and understand that you have no idea what type of day they've had or what they're going home to or anything else that may be going on in their life;" When the person driving erratically does something rash, "Breathe, Alyson. People are people. You don't know why they are in a hurry or what/who is depending on them or why they're making this decision." To myself when someone takes what I say or do negatively "People are people, Alyson. You may have hit a nerve, not been sensitive, or could have handled the situation better. Maybe they're having a bad day. You don't know why they're reacting like they are. Be gracious, show them love, stop judging, know where you're coming from and do what you are able to help the situation and encourage them." This saying comes to mind all the time.
It also comes to mind when I hear news like today of a young pastor committing suicide, a pain that hits close to home as I've been in the congregation of a beloved, godly, inspiring pastor who made the same decision. The truth is, depression doesn't use discretion. It doesn't say "well, you're a pastor. So, I'll leave you alone." In fact, with the weight pastors and church staff carry, it's likely that the struggle with depression may be found more right there amongst our incredible church leaders.
When it comes to depression and struggle and pain, people are people. Just because people have a certain status, job title, influence, or wealth - they are not immune to the negativity of life. At the most basic level, we are all human - all judgements, differences, and prejudices aside - we are people. We all struggle. We all experience hurt. We all need to experience kindness, to be encouraged. Everyone... everyone... needs love and support.