When I first heard that my granddaughter was going to be born six weeks early, I was very worried. Two of my sisters were born too early and hadn’t survived, and a close friend also lost her son who was born prematurely, so I suppose it was only natural that I was scared. But as I told friends and family about my granddaughter’s birth, I was surprised by how many of them took the time to assure me that my fears were probably misplaced. I heard story after story from people who had either been preemies themselves, or had a friends or family members whose premature babies grew up to be perfectly healthy children and adults. I can’t tell you how much those stories helped me, and how much I needed that support.
There’s a popular meme on social media that says something along the line of “everyone is dealing with some kind of hardship, so please be kind.” And that is so true. I told people about my granddaughter’s early birth, but there are times when we don’t feel comfortable sharing our problems with others, for whatever reason. Which means that all of us are almost constantly interacting with people who are hurting, and how we treat them can either help lighten their load or make them feel even worse. In other words, how we treat others really is a big deal.
It’s especially a big deal right now, as our world seems to face one huge challenge after another and the number of people suffering seems to grow larger every day. I have no idea what the answers to all these problems are, but I do know that my actions and my words matter. I may be only one person with zero influence on world affairs, but I can still try to make things just a little bit easier on those around me.
As a blogger, I can use my posts and comments to encourage other bloggers and readers. As a wife, daughter, mother and grandmother, I can give my time and energy to help my family when they’re struggling. And while I may not have the strength I once did, I can still walk most shelter dogs who desperately need a break from the isolation of their runs. My personal gifts may be few and not particularly impressive, but I can still choose to use them as much as possible. And that’s true, I believe, for all of us.
In these dark times, all of us have the choice of either spreading the darkness even further, or being a light for those around us. I hope that we choose to be the ones who encourage and support each other, just as those people helped me when I was so worried about my granddaughter being born too soon. I’ll always be so grateful to those who assured me she would be just fine, because as it turns out, they were right…..