“In the absence of love and belonging, there will always be suffering.”
Over the last several months I have spent hours upon hours thinking, reflecting, soul-searching and ultimately thanking God for everything and everyone that I have had in my life. Despite the pain, tragedy, and heartaches that have been part of my existence, I have been blessed with a deep faith, hopeful spirit, a capacity to love, and an incredible support system of family and friends. This support system has continually lifted me up from the depths of those deep, dark moments when I was literally hanging by a thread. In fact, there has not been a time in my life that I have not felt a deep sense of peace (even though I may have not been consciously feeling it or feeling deserving of it at the time) knowing that I was unconditionally loved. Sadly, I am ashamed to admit that at times I have taken for granted this God-given love and support.
Often times through my work, I cross paths with some of the most courageous and incredible people you will ever meet. Some have suffered a lifetime of abuse yet still have the ability to look forward with hope no matter how dire their circumstances. Their stories constantly tug on my heartstrings.
Lately though, my heartstrings have been in a tug-of-war. Something was missing in the lives of some of these women–something so simple and obvious but often overlooked when survival is first and foremost on the list. The past few weeks I have spent a lot of time trying to figure it out. When I finally did, a sea of guilt flooded my soul. It was really so very simple. The one thing these women were missing is something that I have in abundance—something I so often have taken for granted in my life–simply, the love and support of a friend.
When I came to this realization, I tried to picture my life without my friends. No random lunches, coffee breaks, shopping trips, or nights by the bonfire? What? Nobody to share the joy and heartaches with? I couldn’t fathom. I tried to imagine my life without the kindness, love, and support that I have been afforded. It wasn’t possible. I simply couldn’t imagine. Can you?
As I pondered, my mind immediately began to turn to what I could do to change this. Every person needs a friend. Every person deserves a friend. It’s a basic human necessity needed for survival. But, how could I make that happen? Well, that answer was pretty obvious. I couldn’t. We can’t do anything alone–but, if we all worked together. . .
What if we all reached out in kindness to just one person? If we all offered to lend a listening ear over a cup of coffee, sat down by somebody alone in church, or struck up a heartfelt conversation with somebody different than us? What if we made it our mission in life to practice unconditional kindness? WHAT IF? Imagine the possibilities. . . .
When it comes down to it, it’s really pretty simple. Unconditional kindness = more love and less hate. That’s an equation that solves most of the world’s problems.
So, I challenge myself and you to ponder this? What if we all stepped out of our comfort zones, reached out in kindness, and became a friend? The rewards far outweigh the risks. The possibilities are endless simply because love never fails. Practice kindness, practice love, and restore hope to someone in need. “Do unto to others. . .” Can you think of a better way to live?