They say news travels in threes...
"You don't know how much I needed your words today."
"Thank you for listening."
"Keep shining because some days yours is the only light I see."
Those were the messages that rolled through my head all weekend after hearing of the third death in my circle last week. They were messages sent from an old friend after she had opened up about her mental health struggles to me over the past 3 years.
I've really sat with the realization that we have no idea how our simple gestures or conversation or kindness can impact others. We don’t know when our gentleness and compassion are needed most. And we rarely know when we are having our last chat with someone.
I'm connected to a lot of people who are open about their mental health battles, and many more who are silent and ashamed by their symptoms.
We don’t know what others are dealing with.
We are all icebergs. Showing each other just the tip of our surface. Hiding everything else down deep.
I once remember experiencing deep grief and being so upset by the idea that the world kept turning when mine felt inside out. Didn't anyone realize how much pain I felt? How could they keep smiling and working and living?
And then when I felt strong enough to poke my head out I was so grateful that there was life and breath and joy that I could return to, that life continued on, and I could resume a new normal with people who kept going.
I'm so glad the world didn't actually stop when I felt like mine did. I was so thankful that everyone else was still out there still carrying on, spreading joy, existing.
If you knit fuzzy socks, or make the best pizza, or sing while you work, or pick up litter, or pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line....know this...
Your light may be the brightest part of someone's day.