07 December 2012

Be Nice Out There

It's not news, exactly, that Bad Things Happen to Good People.  But this semester, I've been really struck by how very many Bad Things have happened to Good People I know--and also struck by how many of these Bad Things are probably invisible to onlookers.  I remember, vividly, the first afternoon of the separation that was the first step towards the formal end of my first marriage.  I didn't quite know what to do with myself, so I took a walk downtown.  I remember thinking that my world was crumbling, and marveled at the fact that every person who walked past me on the sidewalk had no idea how sad I was.  We carry our burdens quietly and sadly, so often.

This semester, I know people who have:

  • watched their child die
  • watched a parent die
  • been abused by a spouse
  • had trouble finding medical help for a seriously ill family member
  • suffered a depressive episode
  • filed for divorce
  • failed an exam
  • failed out of college
  • gotten fired
  • gotten a scary new diagnosis
  • called a crisis line
  • despaired that a problem would get better
  • refused medication that might help
  • been rejected by a sibling
  • watched a parent decline
  • gotten a call about a distant parent falling suddenly, seriously ill
  • struggled to help a child get to school
  • been separated from those they love for too long
  • had trouble finding schools for a student with special needs
  • lost a spouse
  • watched a child drop out of school
  • separated from a spouse
  • had a cancer recur
  • had a parent go to jail
Some of these people I know well; some I know through nodding acquaintance.  Some live near me now; some live far away.  Some of these stories I know well--although they are not mine to tell--some I know just the barest details of.

In response, I've also seen people circle the wagons and surround people with love, meals, and offers to walk pets; I've seen administrators reach out to help.  I've seen a lot of good things moving in the world--but oh, the sadness I've been aware of.

Which just makes me think, as the days grow longer: we should all put some kindness out into the world.  We could all use it.


Liz Miller said...


Unknown said...

So true. I marvel at how many people around me are suffering. Our family has experienced at least one of these things this year and more than a few over the years. I've always been comforted by the fact that we we open up about what's going on, people tend to support you and share their own situations. It reminds me that we're human, and I try to remember that every day.

elswhere said...

Amen, amen.

Magpie said...


S said...

Sigh, and yep.

Unknown said...

The painful truth is so beautifully expressed..