Can everybody just stop hurting so much for a little while? I need a little break.
There is an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer called “Earshot” in which Buffy Summers temporarily gains the power to read minds. As the ability grows, she becomes overwhelmed with the burden of hearing everyone’s private thoughts. She explains to Jonathan, a suicidal classmate, that the reason no one notices his pain is that everyone, no matter how they seem, is busy dealing with their own.
I am feeling a little like Buffy this week. Everyone around me is carrying on living their lives, but underneath the surface is such pain. A friend found a second type of cancer after the first was successfully removed; an old high-school buddy threatened to shoot himself, a casual friend was left by her husband of 16 years and is now readjusting to her new role as a single mother; a co-worker and a sister both struggle in marriages that crush their spirits, but they are unable to fix and unwilling to leave; another friend just lost his wife to a protracted battle with cancer; a dear relative is combining the joy of expecting a baby with an emotionally abusive relationship; another friend is struggling with depression; body image issues are tampering a close friend's joy; one branch of the family is dealing with a possible drinking problem. These are just the things I know about, just the ones that come to mind at the moment.
Right now this pain is highly visible to me, but I realize that this is normal. This is life. I am currently noticing it more acutely, but I think the aggregate of pain is probably the standard. I am trying really hard to be there for the people I care about, but it is becoming exhausting. This week I feel a little overwhelmed. I am so glad that Husband S is the rock I am always depend on. He is keeping me stable so that I can be there for others.
Several UU bloggers, but especially Lizard Eater, talk about becoming a missional denomination. I admire their dedication, but I don’t usually feel compelled to join in. Lately when I look around and see all of the unfortunately mundane suffering I almost get the missional bug. I admire people who try to save the world, but that is not in my power. I just want to help ease some suffering, one person at a time. I can't fix people, try though I might (and believe me, I have tried), but I can listen, and I can accept, and I can love.