Imagine some random act of nature occurs like an earthquake, and the world as you know it is unrecognizable. Libraries where mothers read stories to kids are rubble, and vehicles are turned upside down and smashed like toys.
Somehow, in your everyday clothes, you are in what feels like lawlessness, chaos, and danger, and you wind up in a high school gym with a bunch of strangers. A place where kids played basketball and had school dances is now filled with injured people moaning, crying, and wrapped in homemade bandages because nobody is really trained what to do.
In one corner, you see a guy with a red flannel shirt tied around his eyes, and he cannot see. A woman is missing part of her fingers, and she is hysterical. There is so much noise that you cannot think, and there is a handsome man in a black t-shirt with a dislocated shoulder.
You wonder why you are here. You wonder why this happened to you. The fact is we can never really know why such things happen.
Would you walk up to a guy with bandages on his eyes and cry because he can’t see you? Would you blame yourself because he can’t see you? Would you pick the hysterical lady to share your fears with and expect her to listen quietly and attentively to you because you are speaking and take it personally when she is not capable of calming herself down? Would you go up to the handsome guy with the dislocated shoulder and ask him to hold you? Would you tell yourself that you’re unworthy of being held because dislocated shoulder guy is not strong enough to bear the weight of you in his arms?
How often in our lives do we try to put our weight on injured people? How often do we blame ourselves when those injured people cannot be strong for us? How often do we ask blinded people to see us? There are times when I felt ugly because I was surrounded by people who were, for whatever reason, blinded to the sight of me.
There are hysterical people I listened to patiently for hours, and, somehow, I was hurt and disappointed when those people were unable to calm down and listen to me when I needed someone to listen to me.
I don’t have to analyze or know what caused people’s emotional injuries or why they are unable to bear the weight of my love, or my voice, or my laugh, but I’m finally getting to the place where I realize that other people’s injuries existed before I entered the picture, and their inability to be what I need or want is not personal. Most importantly, I am not responsible for fixing any of it.
Saving people is heroic, and I have worked hard in my personal life and professional life to save others, to take care of others, and to help others, and I have made great sacrifices to do so. Meanwhile, in the back of my mind, I wanted someone to be my hero. I got tired of waiting for someone who never came, so I give myself permission in this chaos filled world to tend to my own wounds. I give myself time to clean up my own rubble and to do the best I can to create a safe place for myself. Most of all, I'm going to work really, really hard not to blame myself for the injuries or weaknesses of others.
I hope my blog inspires you to believe in yourself more and feel less alone in the world. I, for one, am inspired by the imperfections of others who continue to rise up again and again despite life's challenges. May we find ways to inspire and support each other.