This week I have been thinking a lot about just that, other people's lives. I am sure there is a better way of saying what I am thinking but I am at a loss for what it is. The reason I have been thinking about it all has to do with a lovely girl with whom I bank with. We have been banking at our bank for over six years. We set up accounts there when we moved to Portage because that is where our mortgage is. At first this bank irritated the crap out of me because you have to GO IN to make a deposit, get cash, etc. For an inherently lazy person such as myself this was a pain. I much prefer the drive up and stick your stuff in the sucky up thingy(yes, that is the technical term):) In the midst of my several trips in and out I have become quite attached to the one banker that handles most of my transactions. We were both pregnant at the same time, me with Ellie and L with her first. Oh yeah,I am calling her L for privacy sake. I feel like we're friends but really its more of a business acquaintance relationship. A few months ago I found out that her husband who is only in his early 30's has ALS( Lou Gehrig's disease). A devastating neurological condition in which you slowly lose all of your capabilities and end up dying. I am sure you have all heard of it but if not, google it. But I forewarn you that its a devastating diagnosis at any age. Add in a young wife and one year old( which is how old their daughter was at the time) and you have perhaps one of the saddest set of circumstances possible.
When I found out about it I was unsure of how to act. Should I tell her that I knew. Should I apologize for all the stupid things I KNOW I have said over the last year like, "So when are you going to have another kid?!" Should I simply say nothing. The first few times I saw her I didn't say anything. I know from being close with Jaime that sometimes its nice to not be the one that everyone is looking at with pity. Maybe she would prefer our conversations to remain carefree and mundane not deep and filled with the horrific realities of her life. Then a part of me felt bad ignoring it because I knew from other circles in which our lives were entwined that she would realize that I did know after all, that I would say something. So the other day I said that I did indeed know about the ALS and that I was sorry. We joked about the fact that I have offered her help in the past with daycare situations and how that is when I didn't even know that she might really need it so I must have really meant it when I offered:)! She shared that its when her husband has fallen down the stairs and her daughter is crying that she really wants to call all of the well meaning people and be like, " Yeah, you..get over her, this sucks!"
When I left there I cried like I haven't in months. Literally sobbed in the parking lot of the bank. My heart broke for this dear family. Later I came home and happen to click on a blog of another acquaintance of mine whose son has several medical issues. I was shocked to read of several severe issues he had endured over the last month. When I went to check my email I saw an update from Kate Mcrae's family about the last two years they have spent battling the beastly brain tumor that has attempted to ravage and steal their daughter from them.
But then I see our dear, sweet Sammy boy next door. Who successfully came through his third surgery. I know that he doesn't have to see his cardiologist for two whole months(the longest he's ever gone) because he is doing so well. I know through all these situations that GOD is THERE. He is the great sustainer. His GRACE sees us through it all and is SUFFICENT for EVERY NEED.
It just seems so surreal to me that there can be so much suffering and we don't even glimpse any of it. We get comfortable in our own little bubbles and worlds and troubles and sometimes we just want to stay there because knowing of all the hurt and sorrow can be too much to handle if we don't really have to.
I hope my heart never gets there. I want to be able to always pray, offer help, make a meal,hell..even tell a joke and give that person in need one minute of reprieve from the harsh realities they face each day.
As I re-read this I am not sure what motivated me to write this. Maybe its because the emotions that I felt after leaving the bank were so raw and profound. Maybe its because I feel guilty for having such a blessed life. Maybe I just felt like typing.
This weekend is Fourth of July. I pray that we're all able to enjoy our families, our freedoms, whether that be having the ability to live freely or have a body that allows us to run and play with our kids in any manner we choose. To stay safe and just cherish each other.