Invisible to the Eye
Some problems are more obvious than others. When someone is clearly struggling, we are usually quite empathetic. We see them limp through life, and most of us readily help in any way we can. We may even make great personal sacrifices to ease their burdens.
Other times, however, the afflictions people endure might be completely invisible to the eye. Some struggles are silent; some burdens are carried privately. It may be an unhealthy relationship, a personal financial crisis, or physical or emotional pain. Whatever the ailments, these silent sufferers may smile and seem to be all right, but inside they are barely holding on—and doing so alone.
Perhaps we could be more observant. Maybe we should notice when hands clench with pain, when eyes glaze over with disappointment, or when cheeks are flush with embarrassment. Along with such subtle signs, we could pay attention to those quiet feelings in our heart urging us to help, even when others haven’t asked for help.
One woman recalls how a friend noticed that she had started hanging laundry on the banister inside her home. She never told her friend that her clothes dryer was broken; she did not want to explain that she did not have money enough to repair or replace it. But this observant and kind-hearted friend paid for a repairman to fix her dryer. As much as the woman was grateful to have a dryer, she felt even more grateful to have a friend who cared enough to look beneath the surface of her life.
Opportunities to help surround us, but they rarely come with engraved invitations. More often, they come with a gentle nudging in the heart, an intangible sense that we can help. As Saint-Exupéry’s little prince wisely observed: "The eyes are blind. One must look with the heart.”
I remember listening to this inspiring message last Sunday morning before the first conference session began and thought I would share (thank you Lyn for recording these messages on your blog every week). While listening, I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes:
"Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
Plato & oft quoted saying of Marjorie Hinckley
How true. It is amazing how much a little kindness, love, respect, patience and encouragement means to someone who is struggling. Even a smile goes a long way. So SMILE this week and look for opportunities to brighten someone's day :-).