What You Don’t Know

You know my name,
not my story.
You see my smile,
not my pain.
You notice my cuts,
not my scars.
You can read my lips,
not my mind.
Unknown

About a year and a half ago, shortly after my grandson was diagnosed with lymphoma, (he’s fine now, thank God), my daughter and I were in a store picking up some things she needed. We looked like everyone else in the store, going about our business as if everything was normal. People who may have noticed or spoken to us could not possibly know what our lives were like at that time. The uncertainty, the shock, the pain. The feeling of wanting to breathe but not remembering how. To everyone else, we looked like everyone else.

Everyday, we sit next to cars at traffic lights, not knowing if those people are on their way to work, or a doctor’s office for test results. Not knowing if they’re going to visit a dying relative or attend a wake. We speak with people who work at their jobs, especially in the service field, and wonder why they’re not very friendly. Co-workers may be having a personal crisis they choose not to share and be withdrawn or distant. Some may become argumentative or angry.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we all have moments in our lives when life just doesn’t seem fair. We struggle to get out of bed sometimes and face what’s in front of us. We hope people are kind that day, even if they don’t know or understand our pain.

Kindness and understanding are the best hugs you can give someone.

We’ll all need a little of both at some point in our lives. If we understand that simple fact, then why not return the favor or set the example for others. Give that person who may not be in the best mood the benefit of the doubt. Don’t assume the worst of people without understanding the reason for their behavior.

Kindness and understanding.

It’s really not that hard.

56 thoughts on “What You Don’t Know

  1. Sara McDaren

    everyone is fighting a hard battle…

    It’s hard when people seem mean though. I am only beginning to learn that it’s not all about me.

    When I was a kid, I was bullied a lot. One of my few friends asked how I could stand it and I told her that I knew that everyone cries about something, even bullies. I wish I were as compassionate now as I was then. Because now when people are jerks my first impulse is to want to punch them in the nose. *sigh*

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Lynn

    What a touching piece George & you are so right, it does not take a whole lot of effort to find a little kindness & understanding.

    Thank you for sharing such a beautifully written post💛

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. George Post author

      Thank you, Anne. I knew some people were aware of his condition after I wrote about it here in Aug ’15 but recent followers may not have known so I’m glad I included it.
      Thank you for reading..:)

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. thechickengrandma

    I am so glad to hear you grandson is fine now. When you wrote of struggling to breathe it brought back so many memories of the mother’s day my youngest two sons were involved in a bad car accident. It was a summer of physical therapy, doctor appointments, court dates and “stuff”. I distinctly remember heaving big sighs that I did not even realize I was doing till my sister pointed it out. It was a struggle to breathe those long months.
    This post is a great reminder for kindness and compassion. Thank you.

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  4. lagoodwi

    That’s beautiful. And so very true. Just a little understanding can go a long way…even if you don’t know the story, situation or have all of the information. It doesn’t take much to be kind.

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. candidkay

    Amen to that. I remember driving back and forth when my parents were in hospice, from their home where I was staying to the hospice facility. I drove slower than usual. My reaction times weren’t great. I was in a fog. And I so appreciated the people who didn’t honk or road rage. It’s the little things . . .

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  6. edgar62

    Because of an insensitive government policy a particular dept are having a hard time. I had to call them and they were helpful. But before I hung up I told the young lady that I appreciated her help and I knew they were having a bad time at the moment, but it will pass and things will get better. In the meantime, try to have a good day.
    It’s not difficult to be pleasant and being nice is not a sign of weakness.

    Liked by 2 people

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  7. Osyth

    Such a good reminder to all of us to be responsive rather than reactive. I am so glad your grandson is well. I wish you all a good 2017, a year filled with joy and laughter, peace and contentment and most of all overflowing with love and I want to take the time to thank you for your excellent blog which I am thrilled to have discovered late last year.

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. vanbytheriver

    When you lead with kindness and compassion, you can change almost any experience. This is a perfect post for the times we are in right now, George. Thanks for the reminder, and so glad to hear your grandson continues in good health. Blessings on your family in the new year. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. Pistachios

    “Benefit of the doubt” is something I’m constantly telling myself. It’s how I encourage myself to try to be extra pleasant to less-than-pleasant people (I work in a service industry).
    Reading this post, and the lovely comments left by other readers, really warmed my heart. Thanks for posting this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. George Post author

      Thank you for reading. Being in the service industry is very difficult. You have to be constantly “on” even when your life may be in turmoil. Add to that those who may not be so kind or pleasant in return and it makes for a tough job. I’ve been there so I give you lots of credit for trying…:)

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  10. roughwighting

    Kindness does seem so difficult for some people, and they’re perhaps those who need kindness the most. Whenever I run into someone extremely rude or unpleasant, I make sure to return their frowns with smiles, their hurtful words with silence, because they must need love and understanding more than I. Wish we had an easy way to spread kindness; writing about it is a good start.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. George Post author

      It really is difficult for some and maybe it’s because they’re fighting their own battles. But returning frowns with smiles is a great attitude. One kindness at a time..:)

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  11. Kate Crimmins

    So true. I was in a car with a friend who was driving. He was going crazy with the driver in front. When I focused I noticed right away the it was an out of state license and the person was lost or confused. They kept driving between lanes to keep their options open. My friend eased up when he realized it was likely I was right. You never know the story and sometimes if you can figure it out, it all makes sense.

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  12. http://www.salpa58.wordpress.com

    So true George. I remember when I was told I had cancer the first time, I went through a series of feelings including anger. My youngest was only four. The cause is fear, if you can overcome the fear you’ve already won half the battle.
    Beautifully written story with a wonderful ending.

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  13. sportsattitudes

    I recall one quotation where it said “those who deserve our love the least need it the most.” That was said with one’s so-called enemies in mind…but if you start there you can quickly see a stranger who is clearly having a bad day might also be deserving of a little consideration and kindness. It just isn’t that darn hard to do if you make it a priority. We’ve all got “stuff.” Great post George.

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. Kim Gorman

    George, I am so glad that your grandson is well. I cannot imagine how terrifying that must have been for your family, himself included. What a little trooper he is. It must have felt surreal for you and your daughter walking around doing normal, everyday things with this huge crisis right there front and center. You are right when some days all there is to do is put one foot in front of the other. Your post certainly provides some much-needed perspective as it relates to our so-called problems, many of which we create in our own minds. Good health is a blessing that most of us take for granted until we don’t have it anymore. Thank you for this reminder, and also that we have no idea what is going on with people, including what traumas and sufferings in their past continue to influence their behaviors and decisions today.

    Liked by 1 person

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  15. In My Cluttered Attic

    It’s so easy to jump to conclusions. There have been times when I’ve said good morning to someone and got no response, and thought to myself, “Okay… be that way.” Yep we all have problems, or personal issues to deal with, and they all weigh heavily on us. Nice reminder, George.

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