We all can relate to people’s weaknesses. We might put up a facade that everything is perfect but none of us are. When we see that weakness in somebody else, we understand or give ourselves a little bit of leeway.
We all do it. We put our best self forward, put a smile on our face, and when asked, respond with, “I’m fine! How about you?” We are all fine, until we aren’t. The facade we so carefully present to the world, slips.
Thanks to WordPress we all have the facade of professional bloggers. Now, I’m not saying we aren’t excellent photo journalists, feature writers, fashion editors, motivational gurus, and commentators. But maybe we aren’t all that tech savvy. I began on a typewriter, graduated to word-processing, and now look at me. A very professional looking blog. Thank-you WordPress. (And you can do it too!)
In our real lives we are surrounded by people, some we know and many we don’t know, who are all coping with situations we know nothing about. If we are close, they may be comfortable enough to tell us of their life difficulties. Maybe they just lost a job, have a spouse who drinks a little more than they are comfortable with, are drowning in debt, or they are worried their child might die of a drug overdose, or a host of other situations.
We dress ourselves up, put on our protective shell, and try to look like confident people able to handle anything. Sometimes we can actually fool ourselves into buying this act. But the curtain always comes down and we are left alone with our weakness and pain.
We may not think about it very often. We know our lives aren’t perfect, but we struggle on. We expect ourselves to deal with it. For the most part we do.
I guess that’s why, when a man comes up to us, in dirty rags, asking for money, because he is active duty on leave, with a baby at home and no food, a sick wife, and he can’t find the VA offices that are not in this part of town and are probably closed at 7:30 p.m., we are suspicious. The guy hit all the soft spots, but like Hubby said, no one who is active duty would look like that.
Perhaps we should have taken him into Starbucks and gotten him a coffee and tried to get the real story. In this area, there is a one-in-four chance that the man is a drug addict. I would bet he is homeless, or very nearly. But then what? Drug addiction is a problem in our community of Huntington, West Virginia (perhaps the worst in the country) and every place of worship, every civic group, every community organization and every level of government is focused on this problem.
So it’s like Joel Kinnaman says, “we understand or give ourselves a little bit of leeway.” Everyone has problems. When the curtain falls and you are alone, remember you aren’t the only one. Others can understand, even if they don’t have a handout that can provide temporary relief. Perhaps sharing with others is a start.