Each of us is required to do hard things in this life and every person goes through moments of doubt, grief, and possibly even despair. I have never met anyone that escaped the edge of life's sword, and I am not sure I would like them if I did.
Life has a way of rubbing off the harsh edges, judgments, and arrogant pride if we are doing it right.
If you have every watched someone you love, go through difficulty or darkness, you know the feeling of wanting to step in and do it for them or at least bear the weight of some of it. There is a particular type of anguish that comes from watching someone you love suffer even if it is of their own volition. Feelings of powerlessness and grief fill the heart of the one who wants to save another from themselves but cannot.
Much of what we go through in life we go through alone. Sure, the people we love will do their best to love, support, and encourage us as much as they can, but in the end, it is all about our personal journey. There is an aloneness to certain parts of life. Loss, addiction, disease are just a few things we navigate within ourselves on a deeply personal level. What we choose to accept, what we choose to change, it is all part of our personal experience and journey, our alone journey.
No matter how much we would like, we cannot sit in the place of our mother on the operating table, we cannot choose freedom for our friend in an abusive relationship, and we cannot fight someone else's demons. Most of the time we can barely fight our own.
The good news is that this space is where we find compassion and empathy. We can show up for others and offer our love and support as they travel through the challenges that life gifts us all. Once we understand that we cannot fix life for people it allows us to love them more wholly and it frees us to listen. We can honor them and their path with more understanding and compassion because the distraction of control is not there.
Our hard things are our own, they belong to us on an intimate, soul level. These difficulties can bring us closer to ourselves, deeper into the meaning and purpose of our life where we can learn compassion toward ourselves and others.
We can show up for the people we love, offer support, kindness, a listening ear, but we cannot take their place in their journey. Nor can they for us. It doesn't work that way.
Each of us is on a path that is clearly ours alone even when we share time and love with others. The older I get, the more I realize that much of this aloneness is by design and is a part of the human condition. This is our space to inhabit within ourselves, within the light and our faith. This is our shared journey.