There are people in my life who keep me sane. They are not the people you'd expect: the tiny Peruvian woman in her dark skirt and bowler hat, who appears briskly on recycling days and skims the trash for bottles; the ancient lady with her sheitel askew, who shuffles to the grocery store so bent over her walker that she can see only the sidewalk; the weary mom patiently taking her physically and mentally disabled adult son out for a walk.
I've never spoken to any of these people. I smile at them when our paths pass, nodding my appreciation of their existence, being neighborly without being intrusive.
Life is richer when you acknowledge that the world consists of more than your own difficulties. For me it's not a "there but for the grace of God go I" kind of thing. It's more like, "Here by the grace of God go I, and there by the grace of God go you, and yes -- there are hard things in life."
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Recently PBS ran a show based on the book Half the Sky. I didn't watch the show, because I don't have a television that gets reception, and because I'm not sure I really want to see the stories in the book. It's the kind of stuff that sticks with you viscerally: stories of women whose faces were burned with acid, of girls sold into prostitution by their families, of married women shunned and abandoned because they had fistulas.
It's terribly grim stuff, and yet it's a surprisingly heartening book. It's heartening because these women didn't give up -- they survived. And you've kinda gotta think Well if she could get through that, what am I complaining about!
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Someone wrote to me recently and said, "It seems like something is going on in your life right now that you aren't writing about."
Well yes, there is. There is a big thing, a heavy burden which I've been carrying for a very long time that has never made it into these pages. I do not write about it because I wish to respect another person's privacy. I have a handful of friends who check in on me regularly to offer support. But I have been really struggling in recent months. I am worn out and tired and... it's hard.
For those of you who are praying people, I could use your prayers.