Some experiences burn into our souls.
Change who we are. How we live. How we work and see the world. How we view others.
I’ve had a few of those. Losing my Mom burns the deepest.
I wish I could say burned, but it burns still.
Who I was is not who I am. I’m the same person, but how I walk in the world is different.
Because with every step now, I carry my grief. In every breath, I carry my loss.
But because of what I carry, in every interaction, I know that I may walk into someone else’s burden. Bump into what they carry. In their arms, on their backs, in their minds.
Grief, infertility, a struggling child, illness, depression, shame. We carry our experiences, the joy and the deep pain. Sometimes quietly, sometimes loudly or awkwardly.
What is wrong with him? Why does she do that?
Those questions used to be accusations. Now, they are openings.
I look at people differently. At my best, I stop before I accuse. I ask why. And I want to know the answer.
I try to see what each person carries, learn how it changes how they walk in the world. Love the person with their stuff. In spite of their stuff. Because of their stuff.
Know that I cannot always carry their load. But I can say, I see that you are weary, you are burdened, you feel alone, lost, confused. Sad.
That’s okay. Sometimes, I do, too.
And I see you.