you get good news
and no one knows
the private celebration
you are having
no one knew
the private struggle
you were living.
There are many variations on the quote by Wendy Mass, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” The older I get, the more I find this is true. The students we teach, the colleagues we work with side by side, and the friends we love all face struggles and challenges in life that we know nothing about. Life is filled with joys, but also suffering. When we face our own challenges and stresses we can appreciate joys more sweetly, and hopefully anticipate the silent suffering of others more compassionately. A recent health scare brought this home to me. I am grateful for good news, but I am reminded it that not everyone does, and we often never know.
15 thoughts on “rejoice”
I’m so thankful that your news was positive. I always try to keep in mind that everyone has their own story, and I agree that as I age, this becomes more and more evident. Your poem says it so well.
You are right! Our posts are companions. Only a few people know of my celebration, so it’s as if I walk around with this huge smile on my face, floating on air, but no one understands why I’m so happy. I’m so glad you are celebrating too! Be well and enjoy every single second!
Your poem took my breath away. The brevity of it highlighted the meaning. Beautifully crafted and I am so happy for you. Thank you for explaining below. Sending hugs.
Thanks, Clare! I’m feeling that hug!
Your poem resonates with me on so many levels. I have been fighting a personal struggle for two years. During this time I have noticed that people often ask, “How are you?” For a moment, I consider unloading my story with them but then just respond with a quick, “Okay.” If only did they know that ‘okay’ is really a meaningless answer. Just once, I would like to give an honest response and unload my burdens. Sometimes I just want to ask, “Do you really want to know how I am, or are you just being polite?” I hope your poem gets many ‘views!’
So true, Georgia. I have come to think of that query as a kind way of connecting rather than an open invitation- so many days we respond “good” when we are so far from could we can’t see it anymore. I still ask it of people, but I know that their responses will probably be similar to mine. I think that attempt to connect is still so human and kind. Wishing you peace and strength in your struggle.
Some big truth here. This is absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing it with us. I want to remember it the time I have a difficult day with a colleague.
“no one knew
the private struggle
you were living.”
You were so right in the connection with our posts. I have really grown so much in my understanding of peoples’ struggles. Thank you for this. I always say that my situation is not a secret, but it is private. People do not have the capacity to understand my challenges ( and I am assuming yours as well.) Congratulations on your celebration. Those keep us all moving forward. xoxo
I am following your blog- I have begun an anonymous one to be able to write more freely without compromising my son. I have so many notes and scraps of info from our journey. I never planned on writing about it, but I think I need to.
I think writing can be so therapeutic. It can help us reflect on experience and shape the narrative that defines it-at least for that moment in time. I wish you strength to face your struggles and hope you can find the words to convey your story most meaningfully. I think the anonymity will allow you the freedom and courage to write what you need to, as you need to! Good luck. xoxo
Your powerful poem is so insightful and profound, Paula! Thank you for the reminder to always be compassionate and to embrace the joy each day holds. Glad to know all turned out well!
I love this poem. Very beautiful and heart felt.
You have always been so compassionate to others! Your poem made me stop and reflect about the people around me and now I wonder if they are struggling with something. I may take an extra minute to ask, “How are you really doing?” the next time I run into them!
I love the repetition of private both for your celebration and your struggle and the contrast with your “going public” with this slice. Creates beauty in its simplicity as a way to convey complex emotions.
Such a great post! Beautiful words and a reminder that everyone has struggles. I am so glad your worry turned to good news. I am so thankful for your writing.