I had her pointed out out to me just once, but I would hear things about her every now and again from my aunt's family who knew her well and loved her. I would occasionally see her on campus and think, 'Oh yeah, that's _________.' I never said hello because she didn't know who I was. You know those kind of acquaintances?
One day my aunt told me that this girl's father had committed suicide. I was heartsick for her and her family. I just couldn't imagine the devastation. I knew that it might be strange for me to reach out to her since she didn't know me, but I thought about her so much during that time. I cried for her and I prayed for her. Just a few days after I heard the news, I was sitting outside on campus and I happened to look up and see her, walking by herself, a midst a sea of students going to their next class. As I watched her walk, it struck me that it was likely NO ONE who was walking near her at that moment knew of the tragedy she was dealing with. She didn't look especially depressed and I thought that if I didn't know this bit of information about her, I would see her and think that nothing was wrong.
It was one of those very profound life lesson moments I will never forget. I looked at the people walking around her and thought how little we know about the people we pass by, and even interact with, every day. What was that guy struggling with? What was that girl's story? What were the struggles some of my friends were experiencing that I knew nothing about? Suddenly I felt so much love for all of the people I was looking at and I thought about judgment and how we should always be trying to lift one another because we just never know their private struggle.
There is a little quote I have seen floating around on Facebook recently that I love, and it actually prompted this post:
Everyone. E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E. The battles vary in size and strength, but make no mistake that everyone has their own private battle. Let's indeed be kind and treat others like they are enough. Make their battle a little easier; offer our strength, withhold our judgment, follow any good thought to lift and be kind. We likely don't know what their hard battle is or how something we do or say will lift them out of their battle, if even for a moment, or help them to finally claim victory and move on to the next battle, feeling a little stronger.
Lift and love. Kindness. Withholding judgment. I need to work on all of it. That's what I am thinking about today.