Very often I hear from some friend or relative that either they or someone in the family has been struck by a fatal disease, “But don’t tell anyone!” they tell me. I always wonder why they don’t want to tell others, and have come to the conclusion they feel the world will mock them for their tragic circumstances.
Is the world actually so cruel?
I remember the story of a kid in school, who was vaccinated with a painful injection in the arm. The doctor then wanted to stick on a bandage. “Please put it on the other arm,” the boy pleaded.
“Why?” the surprised doctor asked. “This will let everyone know you have been vaccinated and they won’t hit your sore arm.”
“Please put it on my other arm! Please!” the boy begged. “You don’t know the kids at my school, they will hit me there, because they know my arm has been vaccinated!”
The boy knew his fellow students and wasn’t about to let them hit his already hurting arm.
Adults, too, are pretty good at hiding pain. Not usually physical pain, but the kind of pain that’s harder to see. They like to appear as if they are in control; they can handle whatever life throws them; they’re on top of it. And, too often, they end up going it alone. No one understands. No one is there to help.
A story teller tells a story of a great ruler who needed a second-in-command to help manage his kingdom. When he finally selected the right person, he took him outside onto a balcony of the palace where they could gaze over all the lands he ruled. His assistant asked the king, “Master, what must I remember most of all if I am to carry out your wishes?”
“My son,” the king replied, “there is only one rule to follow − and that is to look upon the people as wounded.”
The wise king knew that everyone is in pain in some way. Wounds may not show, but they are there.
The man who yells at you on the road, the lady with a scowl, they are all like the boy, hiding their wounds on the other arm. They don’t want to tell the world of some terrible tragedy and hide it from everyone!
It’s our job to discover where people hurt and reach out to them. Learn where the invisible bandages are and you’ll know how to help them. How to heal them. Look upon them as wounded, and this Christmas month try to reach out to heal those wounds..!
Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at www.bobsbanter.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org