You never know...
On Monday, I stopped at the supermarket on my way home from getting my tooth pulled. The oral surgeon assured me that although I felt self-conscious, my face wasn't swollen. He said, "You look good, Gail. Actually, you look great." Thanks, Doc. But as I stepped out of the minivan and strolled into the Harris Teeter market, I wasn't so sure. I wondered what I looked like. I wondered whether or not the other shoppers could tell that I couldn't feel the right side of my face. I wondered if they noticed that something traumatic had just happened to me. Hey, you never know.
It wasn't long before I began to look at my fellow shoppers and the store employees with that same thought in mind: you never know. I didn't know if someone walking past me in the frozen food section had just had one of their own teeth pulled. Or perhaps they were trying to figure out how they would pay for a tooth extraction being that they had no dental insurance. No medical insurance. No job. And no prospects. You never know.
Today is Thursday, and usually I write up a "Thursday Thirteen" blog entry. Today is no exception. I opened my journal a couple of hours ago and began to write down thirteen different scenarios or situations that people may be in when I see them at church, in the supermarket, in traffic, or walking their dogs. I came up with more than thirteen. Care to add any of your own?
First of all, you never know whether or not someone has recently lost a loved one. I remember the morning when my father passed away that as we left the hospital, I wanted to grab the hand or face of everyone I encountered and say, "Don't you get it? My father just died. How can you go on with life as usual? He was a great and godly man; how can you not grieve his passing?"
You never know if someone has -
* lost their job
* gone into bankruptcy
* lost their home due to fire, hurricane, flood
* a disastrous marriage or home life to return to
* just learned that their spouse wants a divorce
* to tell their spouse that they want a divorce
* been abused or has a child who is being abused
* a child who has run away from home
* been given a devastating medical diagnosis
* has just received a medical treatment for a terminal disease
* has just taken their child or spouse to receive such a treatment
* been the victim of a crime
* perpetrated a crime
* a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan
* a mental illness or a loved one who is mentally ill
* a dead or dying pet
You never know if someone is -
* a diabetic amputee
* a cancer survivor
* an alcoholic, a drug addict, or is living with one
* ignoring a serious diagnosis
* in the last days of a "six months to live" pronouncement
* is plagued by fear, worry, and thoughts of suicide
* in desperate need of a listening ear or a strong and supportive shoulder
You never know if someone -
* has just won the lottery
* has just gotten engaged or married
* is pregnant, hoping to get pregnant, or wishing they weren't pregnant
* has been promoted at work
* is new to church, to town, or to the country
* is dying to tell you their good news
* is going to go home and write about you on their blog
You never know if your snarl, sarcastic remark, smirk - or your smile, kind word, or embrace will make all the difference in someone's day. Week. Life.
I know this isn't one of my usual upbeat blogs, but life isn't always happy and easy and pain-free. As I sit here, I feel a dull ache in the space where my tooth used to be. As I make my way through my life, I sometimes feel a dull ache where my father used to be. I miss friends I haven't seen in a long time. I miss relatives I've been separated from. I miss earning a paycheck sometimes. And on Monday, I was reminded of the fact that every one of us feels dull aches, severe cramping, and gut-busting agony some of the time. Some people hurt most of the time. It's just that I can't always see it on the outside.
But hey, you never know.