A recent post by a blogger pal, his birthday post, and another by one of the Novel Racers awhile ago, both made me stop and think. Both, without going into specifics, referred to setbacks and problems in their lives, or in the lives of those closest to them, and each made me re-examine my assumptions.
When we come on here we're all upbeat, in total control. Even when we blog about imperfections in our lives it's done with humor, or at least wry self-deprecation. Yet every now and then I get a glimpse behind the veil: in the case of the second blogger, an indication that her life was in turmoil; the other, that everyone that he cared about had undergone some kind of disappointment or setback recently.
When I come on here I put on my public face, and I tend to forget that's what most of us do. When I'm grappling with tough realities, I assume that I'm alone with them, that everyone else is a-ok. I don't blog much about the fact that a close relative of my mother was shot by unknown gunmen and succumbed to her injuries a few days ago, never having regained consciousness. That neighbours of an in-law were robbed and slaughtered in their home yesterday. That everyone I know lives in terror of being the next victim of some sort of senseless violence, that I feel my heart squeeze and my breath shorten even as I type this.
And that's just the major stuff. There's the rest: the bad things that happen not just to good people, but to good people we love. The bad things that happen, or have happened, to us. Our internal struggles. Our failures and shortcomings. Our ongoing troubles and challenges.
Clicking around the blogs I enjoy never fails to lift my spirits: there's humour, sharing and camaraderie, support and encouragement everywhere. And that's great, that's the way it should be. But every now and then I get a glimpse behind the scenes and it reminds me: I'm not alone with my challenges; we all have them. Behind the light touch we're coping with birth, death, sickness, divorce, breakups, betrayal, debts, aging, tortured relationships, painful memories, raw fear - the whole gamut. For a moment I put aside my assumption that everyone else is leading a charmed life.
Then I get back into gear and try, like my fellow bloggers, to follow the advice of the Apostle Paul to the Philippians (thanks D, for first showing this to me):
Whatsoever things are true,
Whatsoever things are honest,
Whatsoever things are just,
Whatsoever things are pure,
Whatsoever things are lovely,
Whatsoever things are of good report;
If there be any virtue,
And if there be any praise,
Think on these things."