When my friend Elizabeth is having a rough day, or when life just generally feels like it’s too much, she will say her boots feel heavy. It’s a reference from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and it makes total sense. Sometimes life feels like too much – so much, in fact, that just walking through life is hard. It’s hard to pick up your feet and keep moving.
That’s how life is feeling these days. My boots are heavy because:
- Violence is once again the top news story. I hurt for the people of Orlando, I hurt for the lives lost and the families forced to figure out how to make it through the day. I hurt for my friends that feel this act of terror so personally because it was an attack on them, too.
- Missing girls are always in the news. In Bloomington, it’s been 5 years since Lauren Spierer went missing. Five years of her parents not knowing what happened. Five years of no closure and no peace. And then I saw in the news today another young girl is missing locally.
- A local church trying to good had their bus stolen and burned. They use that bus all the time to make a difference in their poor, hurting community. Now they’re at a loss again. And it hurts my heart.
- Friends have family members fighting cancer, fighting mental illness, fighting to make it through the day.
- Friends have had to say goodbye to the people they love all too soon.
The world is heavy. Walking through the world is heavy. And sometimes it feels hopeless. But it’s not. I promise it’s not.
If you’re like me, you’re wondering what you can do? How can you change the world, how can you stand up and be a voice in the dark void of heaviness? How can you help.
Be Present. People all around you are hurting and crying out. Be present in their lives, even when (especially when) it’s uncomfortable and you feel a little lost.
Be Open. Everyone hurts, mourns and deals with pain in their own ways. Don’t assume that someone is processing the world the same way you are.
Be Real. Forget the platitudes and pedantic sayings. Sometimes life stinks. Sometimes the struggles are too much and too hard and too big to really fully understand.
Admit Your Fears. Nothing feels more isolating than thinking you’re the only one afraid, struggling or unsure how to deal with the world. Admit your fears to those who struggle.
Carry Each Other. Sometimes your boots are too heavy. Sometimes your best friend has the heavy boots. Sometimes it’s a total stranger. Know the signs of hurting people and offer to help carry the load. There is nothing that makes the load lighter than sharing it with people who are willing to help carry it – and you – through the dark places.
Be Brave. Stand up for those you love. Hold them proudly when they’re hurting. Admit that the world is ugly, but people can be beautiful.
Judge Sparingly. Instead of judgement, focus on love. There is enough name calling and vitriol in the world. Instead of judging people, love them.